The Woken Breath|
The Hooded Horde
|Date of arrival||c. 1000 C.E|
The Insidious (The Woken Breath, The Hooded Horde) is the Twenty-Eighth Hour of the Fansus, created by Stone. It is a God-From-Nowhere. Its aspects are Knock and Winter in decreasing order of importance. During the War of Doors, many new ways were opened, each a tear in the fabric of the Fansus. Through each tear, a little bit of Nowhere crept in. These fragments blew together, repulsed by what is, seeking comfort in their fellows. In the forgotten corners of the wood they gathered, the only sign of their passing a gentle swaying of the trees. Over time, such as it is in the House of the Snake, the fragments met and coalesced, consolidating their power, a shadow darkening the wood. Now they are recognized as an hour in their own right, a hive of creeping cold found in the most tenebrous corners of this place.
The Insidious has several manifestations in the Fansus, the shadow in the corner of a room that no light can stir, a stirring in the leaves of The Wood or an indeterminate number of hooded, faceless figures. Naturally, if it’s ever depicted, it’s as The Hooded Horde. However, depictions are few and far between, a dearth due to the comparatively small number of worshippers.
Those who do give reverence include thieves, a certain subset of machiavellian advisors and, most menacingly, auditors. The principles of The Woken Breath concern hidden, shadowy things and actions. It lurks, waiting in the shadows, knowing that by its very nature it is hated by the native Hours of the house but all the time it grows as shadows from nowhere gather to it. The Insidious is the Hour of survival, hiding in places others don’t go and even those places others do. It is also an Hour of surreptitious entry, sliding under doors and through the cracks in the world.
- Rite of the Gathering Dark: See beyond the thin veil of shadows, or pull something through it. The Insidious requires the power of an influence for payment, a tool of opening for access and a follower's shadow to inhabit.
- The Shadow Concordat: Wherever public servants gather in quiet rebellion against those who control them, wherever thieves meet to discuss their marks, wherever the sinister powers of the audit group together, readying their merciless pens; here will the The Insidious be invoked. Whisper its name in the shadows, and maybe the shadows will follow you.
- I have dedicated myself to the power that lurks, known as The Insidious. My face is a blur and there are many I have met who wouldn’t recognise me. I know this to be the third Mark.
- Others fail to even notice me now. I feel myself growing thinner, stretched. My shadow grows fat from feeding on me. The fourth Mark saps my substance.
- With the fifth Mark, I am now distinguished from my shadow only barely. Sometimes it takes a moment for my hands to grasp things without them slipping through. Only the tightest space forbids me.
- As I am Marked for the sixth time, my shadow rises up to meet me, or I fall to meet my shadow. No words escape me and no wall stops me.
- Shade ( ): A lone fragment of the greater horde, the shade has but an echo of power, but that power is still formidable. Knock to bring it, Winter to shackle it. In its presence cracks widen and the features of those nearby fade into amorphous anonymity. Shades are potent agents of infiltration but seek dearly a way back to the rest of themself.
- The Prince ( ) ( ): Lantern to lure him, Heart to convince him that this is worth his time. The Prince radiates careful power like a caged sun, his words are sharper than any blade, he knows secrets about you that you wouldn't dare to dream of. It is uncertain whether he has no shadow, or whether he is the shadow. "Deceptions upon deceptions, the very skin is a lie. Truth is the key and the knife."
- The Darker Groves: Since the coalescence of The Hooded Horde certain areas in The Wood have grown more shadowy, even dangerous. A strange darkness has gathered in the roots and branches of those ancient trees. These are the areas of the house that are sacred to to followers of The Insidious and the areas where its influence is strongest. It’s spreading influence has disturbed the sanctuaries sacred to the Elder Sister especially, who finds that individual shadows are easily captured and amusing for a while, but their tendency to slip through the seals of jars grows tiresome. She prefers to be the only hour capable of being mysterious and shadowy in the woods so doesn’t take too kindly to the darkening of woods without her permission. The several skirmishes that have been perpetrated by members of the court have so far been more similar to pest control than open war. While the Horde is slow to stir, some of the Cousins that roam far from court have begin to disappear, the only trace of their passing a whisper in the trees.
- The Empty Rooms: Up higher in The Fansus, past The Silver Door and The Breach, there are the empty rooms of the house. It is uncertain whether these rooms were ever occupied or if they simply lie in wait for a strength to claim them. With the growing power of The Insidious, shadow has spread from the wood, climbing so high as to fill the bare spaces of the middle house.
- Black Sap ( , Poison 2): A dark fluid that has a annoying tendency to slip any container one might put it in. Useful as an ingredient to open ways... or as a poison to open the body. Victims feel nothing, and sweat black.
- A Second Shadow ( ): An echo in the steps. Something follows just behind.
- A Gathering Presence ( ): Dark crowds the peripheries, inducing claustrophobia, sheltering from prying eyes.
- The Gods of the Wood, Volume IV:
In the fourth Volume in her series regarding the Wood Hours, Uriella speaks at some length about her wanderings in the darker groves of the Wood and what she found there.
Uriella details the nature of the shadows that dwell there, their apparent collectivism, and the way they seem to flee before her even in dreams. She goes on to recall the god local thieves worship, a thing of surreptitious entry and subtle caution.
In her final forays into the dark parts of the wood, Uriella recounts the increasing hostility of the shadows that dwell there. Rather than flee from her they gather among the trees, flitting from cover to cover in vaguely humanoid forms. She recollects their presence as an oppressive weight, and one can't help but notice a certain amount of fear creeping into her writing. In the final line of the volume, she addresses the reader directly; "Do not try the Shades that dwell in those woods, or you might find shadows living in more than just your dreams."
- The Architeuthian:
- The Anaconda:
- Snake Tail with Appendages:
- The Engine of Cycles:
- The Peacock:
- Old Tarnished:
- The Spark:
- The Cuckoo:
- The Silver Owl:
- The Watcher in the Window:
- The Elder Sister:
- The Apple-of-the-Eye:
- The Archivist:
- The Bright-Delver:
- The Harvester:
- [ ]:
- The Snow-Stained:
- The Fanged Bramble:
- The Aged Bones:
- The Mendicant Without:
- The Anvil:
- The Maker:
- The Deceiver:
- The Huntsman:
- The Great Serpent: