The Old Shame
The Deceitful One
|Date of arrival||Unknown|
The Crone, also known as The Old Shame or The Deceitful One is the Fifteenth Hour of the Fansus, created by Edward. She is a God-From-Flesh, created by the Maker in the Sixth History. Her aspects are Grail and Winter in decreasing order of importance.
From the earliest days of the Sixth History, the Hours of the Forge were deeply invested in the development of the humans they created. The Hour of the Maker took particular interest in the fledgling race, constantly adjusting their biology and gathering the most exceptional among their number for “special improvement”, creating some of the Histories’ first Long.
Among these Long were two sisters, who ascended the ranks to be counted among the greatest of the Unfinished. The sisters were always a close-knit pair, but that changed when the younger sister commited the Abominable Act known as the Crime of the Sky, and regressed into a hideous creature known as a Soucouyant. Disgusted at its hard work being wasted, the Maker turned its gaze away from the younger sister. The elder sister never abandoned her sibling however, even as she continued to rise in both station and power in the ranks of the Sculptor's servants. But a seed of jealousy had been planted in the younger sister’s heart at the sight of her sibling’s success, which eventually grew into envy, and finally blossomed into resentment. These feelings grew until the day the younger learned the older was to be bestowed the highest honor of their kind. She would be further “perfected” by their god, and ascend to directly serve it in what they believed to be it’s “heaven”. This was the final straw. The night before the ceremony, the younger sister murdered the elder, and then schemed to take the honor for herself, finally freeing her of the twisted form that had caused her “fellow Unfinished” to shun her.
Concealing her twisted form beneath layers of her sister’s finery, she attended the ceremony and imitated her slain kin flawlessly, until finally the Maker itself graced the attendees with its presence, and began to craft the sister into a beautiful, winged work of art.
But the younger sister’s crime was discovered at the last moment, and the Maker was enraged. Raging but still unwilling to destroy its own work, the Maker instead took the Soucouyant and twisted her even further that the Crime had. She became a ugly, winged thing. A disgusting mockery of a bird. the Maker banished its most shameful creation from its sight, declaring that one day the Shame would “crawl on her belly and eat dirt”. Abandoned, the Cuckoo -as she came to be called by her victims lucky enough to glimpse her grotesqueness and live- continued to plot and deceive her way to power, leeching off the worship of the Hours enough to one day rise from Name to Hour without the Maker’s blessing.
Her tarot card is Temperance.
The Deceitful One will rarely reveal one of her “true” forms when she first makes contact with scholars of the invisible arts. Often, she will appear as a resplendent beauty, beckoning prospective worshippers to her. Sometimes, she dares to impersonate the other Hours, interrupting their communion with the mortal world and leading their servants unknowingly into her service.
In the form of the Crone, the Hour of selfishness appears to be a slightly wrinkled, but stiff-backed woman in a plain dress. Her stern demeanor gives one the impression of a schoolmarm, or a lady from a royal court. Her true, monstrous form is that of a massive Cuckoo bird that never flew the nest. She is obese, fat from gorging herself on the offerings of her followers. Her feathers are filthy, and in many places missing. Her bulk strains the remains of the ancient nest she still rests in. She has partially repaired it with the finery “gifted” to her by would-be suitors, but even that’s constantly getting soiled and tearing from being in the mud and pressing against her ever-expanding bulk. She will never have enough to fix it.
Externally Cuckoo values, aestheticism, restraint, and propriety. But that's only because she knows when others go without, there's more to be had for her. "It is virtuous to go without," she might say. "... But since you're aren't going to be eating it, pass it over here." Spiteful and callous, she is the patron of Temperance Campaigners, Prohibitionists, and Fundamentalists of all sorts. Anyone who relishes the chance to flaunt their supposed virtue and look down on others.
True to her nature as an over-sized Cuckoo, she is fond of interrupting seances, divinations, and attempts to contact other Hours and run off with the offerings herself. Occasionally she'll grant the destitute or the particularly "virtuous" divine visions. The Sanctimonious and those not in the Know who she is "fond of" (more like spites slightly less than most) are pushed to punish and impose their views upon the "less virtuous". Those in the Know, the destitute, and the amoral are given dreams and promises of glory and inspiration, but requires them to first give, give, and give in return. Eventually, she either cuts contact with them and leaves them empty handed or leads them to perform a ritual that destroys them utterly, typically releasing some horror of her creation upon the world in the process.
Occasionally however, to those who prove themselves to be particularly "devout", she will see fit to bestow "blessings" upon the foes of her favored. As the Hour of selfishness, she never parts with what she has taken but not Consumed. She will instead torment her followers' foes with starvation, loss, and false premonitions that serve to either disorient or disable them to the point they can be dispatched with reasonable effort. She is fond of taking her sacrifices and followers young. After “the Hatching”, she regrets this greatly.
- The Erinyes: They’ve been called many names through the ages. Harpies, Erinyes or Hounds of Hades, their function remains the same. These “angels” of their goddess seek out worshipper’s offerings that have been sent to the Mansus, or those whom their patron Hour has marked for death, and bring them back to the nest. And often, those “offerings” end up being the worshippers themselves, who’ve conveniently opened up a portal right to their location.
- The Sunken Place: The Cuckoo’s Nest rests in the shadow of a great Wood tree. It once rested high above the forest floor, but it grew too heavy to be supported by the branches and crashed to earth long ago. To what Hour did this place belong before the Crone took up her roost here? The Silver Owl? Some long dead aviform Hour? It is as if the Crone has stolen for herself all memory of its origin. Whatever it looked like, it’s surely unrecognizable now. Half birdnest, half trash heap, the branches of the trees are covered in strewn garments and tattered finery.
- Mutilated Molt ( ): The tattered remains of what is presumably a giant feather. The grime and unidentified ichor covering it makes it hard to tell. When the Peacock fled the Cuckoo’s nest, he did not do so empty handed. When he tore free of her beak while she fed on what he once was, he took with him a clawful of her mottled feathers. Never has she forgiven this “theft”. Along with the mud of her nest, some of her power clings to it still.
- The Count of Monte Cristo (?): An unfinished manuscript for a frankly bizarre retelling of the classic tale. Mercedes is portrayed as significantly older than the rest of the cast. The story widely deviates from original after Edmond Dantes is falsely imprisoned. The story follows Mercedes as she orchestrates the downfall of Villefort, Danglar, and Mondego and amasses their wealth for herself. At no point is Dantes’ imprisonment mentioned or seems to cause Mercedes any distress. The manuscript ends abruptly with the arrival of the Count of Monte Cristo, who surprises Mercedes by emerging from the grave of her unknowing rivals.
- The Bird and the Bramble ( , Dread): A rare surviving copy of a long-discontinued children’s book, telling the tale of a hungry bird that steals a gardener’s seeds. The only thing the bird manages to grow is a very angry weed, which goes on to overgrow the garden. Despite it’s innocuous content, the Suppression Bureau had most copies destroyed after it was linked to an outbreak of disturbing dreams involving drowning in mud among readers. A fact you can now attest to.
- The Sacred Text ( , Dread x2): A fragment of a holy book so old as to lack any other name. Few traces of its existence still exist, and there are certain powers that would be very incensed to have it read. This is but a sliver of the text, but someone went to great lengths to ensure a passage is still just barely legible. In Vak.
- The Architeuthian:
- The Anaconda: The Cuckoo's nest fell from a broken branch and sunk into the mire beneath. No one witnessed the cause, no one was there to say that any hour at all might have done such a thing. The fact that this event put the Cuckoo in a prison of her own devising surely indicates that it was her own fault, right? The Anaconda may dislike the Cuckoo, and often chide or thwart that Hour, but certainly no one could ever find proof that it had struck against the Cuckoo.
- Snake Tail with Appendages:
- The Engine of Cycles:
- The Peacock: The Peacock's "mother".
- Old Tarnished:
- The Spark:
- The Silver Owl:
- The Watcher in the Window:
- The Elder Sister:
- The Apple-of-the-Eye: The Cuckoo keeps stealing the Apple’s stuff to make broken, destructive Hours! The Glorious Lie considers her to be a troublesome enemy, and one that looks like a beggar.
- The Archivist:
- The Bright-Delver:
- The Harvester:
- [ ]:
- The Insidious:
- The Snow-Stained:
- The Fanged Bramble: The Cuckoo was the one who planted the seed of the Bramble.
- The Aged Bones:
- The Mendicant Without:
- The Anvil:
- The Maker:
- The Deceiver:
- The Huntsman:
- The Great Serpent: