The Mendicant Without
|The Mendicant Without|
|"Allow yourself no rest."|
The Mendicant Without|
|Date of arrival||1714 C.E.|
The Mendicant Without, also known as the Loss-Unknown, is one of the Hours of the Fansus, created by Lyrositor. It is a God-From-Nowhere who arrived in the early 18th century. Its primary aspect is Grail, with a secondary aspect of Moth.
- 1 History
- 2 Description
- 3 Worship
- 4 Locations
- 5 Relationships
- 6 See Also
The Mendicant fled Nowhere long ago, seeking to satiate a hunger it did not yet understand. It beseeched the Hours of the Mansus to be allowed within, and its request was granted, but for a price that meant nothing to it. The Mansus Hours came to regret their decision in time, and it was cast out for reasons which did not make any sense to it. It mourns its loss to this day, as it craves what it never had to lose in the first place. It fears the Wood, and the wilder Hours that reside within, and dares not leave the Gates, should they ever open for it again.
First Maneuvers in The Fourth History
In the year 1723 the Mendicant Without made its entrance into the Fourth History, wholly unaware of the millennia-long truce that had preserved it from greater influence until then. With no Names, no followers and little power of its own, it sought to establish a power base that would cement its presence among the older Hours, intervening much more personally than most Hours usually did. Donning a form that was passably human, it drew to itself the hungry, the destitute and the skeptics, asking the right questions but providing few answers. Instead, it urged its followers to spread the questioning, instilling a sense of longing and unrest for which there were no earthly remedies. In exchange, it offered greater glimpses of the skin beneath the world than any in this History had yet witnessed, further fueling the hunger and drive of occultists throughout the world.
In Europe especially this coincidentally tied in over time with the Enlightenment movement, diverting some of its proponents away from a quest for scientific and philosophical answers to solutions of a more unusual nature. Towards the second half of the century, this precipitated several crises from both the top and the bottom of society. Events quickly began to spiral out of the Mendicant's control as it repeatedly failed to gain influence over royals, who hungered for little, and revolutions proliferated throughout Europe in quick succession.
This finally drew the attention of the other Hours to the Mendicant itself, who had managed to remain in the shadows until then, but whose name was now loudly proclaimed in the streets as the people marched. The Deceiver's lie was uncovered, as no curse had befallen the Mendicant, but this did not spare it from the Hours' judgement, and so it was cast out from the Mansus. Seething at the injustice and its own ignorance, the Mendicant redoubled its efforts in the Fourth History, determined to do everything it could to claim it as its own. It succeeded in very little other than furthering unrest until older, more experienced Hours stepped in over the ensuing decades with defter hands to snatch what it had accomplished from under its nose, leaving it with little power to speak of. Still, even as the Hours slowly began to further extend into the Fourth History, the Mendicant was never quite displaced from its position.
To this day, the Mendicant remains a figure of note among occultists in this History, though no active cult wields any particular influence. Symbols of its worship are still occasionally openly displayed in many places, despite the stigma against the occult, even though actual worship of the Hours is forbidden. As a result, the Mendicant still pays occasional visits to the Fourth History, though it has largely given up on its greater plans for it.
Growth and Learning
TBD: The Mendicant, coached by the Bright-Delver and through studies of humanity, acquires knowledge and understanding, both of itself and the world it has entered.
TBD: Having lost faith in the Mansus and the other Hours, the Mendicant comes to several conclusions:
- The Hours are inadequate Gods for humans. A new form is required, one which will allow them greater understanding, even if it is at a cost of its own power. It still believes humans need to be guided, however, lest they do something unwise (see the Engine of Cycles).
- The Mansus is a prison, both for the Hours within and the mortals without. It needs to be torn down and rebuilt.
- An all-out-war won't work, and so it initiates a conspiracy to erode it from the inside, using dreaming followers as its instrument.
The Mendicant could almost be mistaken for human at first glance, before its anomalous conjunction of limbs, flesh and bone becomes apparent. It shuffles along the outskirts of the Mansus, dressed in ragged clothing, a pitiable thing stripped of much of its former glory. Yet should one speak to it, the improper angles and dissembling shapes resolve into a being of incommensurate beauty, one which lingers in the mind as an impression but never a memory.
Beings of higher power or greater perception are able to see through this facade, however, to reveal the unnatural being underneath. They see it instead as an emaciated, wan thing, of failing solidity, one which barely seems able to cling to this reality. It possesses only the most cursory of humanoid outlines, not unlike a rough pencil sketch, and lacks any defined features on its smooth, dark brown skin. Only a vague depression hints at the location of its eyes, and even then only when one knows how to look.
It can be difficult for the uninitiated to understand what the Mendicant desires; indeed, it was and remains difficult for many of the other Hours. It may be that the Mendicant itself does not know, but yearns for it nonetheless. It can be as beguiling as it wishes, whispering words of velvet to those who would listen, only for it to change its mind by the next sentence. It is commonly understood that it desires pleasure, at any cost, but possesses only notional knowledge of what it entails. Its followers quickly find themselves seeking ever greater extreme thrills, always finding satisfaction in the short-term, but unable to quench their desire for more. All agree that it can be very persuasive, at least until one realizes that its words are empty. Many also affirm that it is the most beautiful Hour, though none can ever say why.
The Mendicant is rarely directly worshiped, as it offers little in the way of answers or assistance. As such, cults formed around the Mendicant are rare and usually very specialized, with the notable exception of the Fourth History. Worshipers of the Mendicant Without instead usually see it as an embodiment of their desires, a personification of their deepest passions and of their willingness to embrace them.
It is most commonly worshiped by the desperate, the hungry, the discontent. It appoints no leaders, no prophets, no representatives, and offers little in the way of rewards. In the city of Glort, the Long who still honor the Mendicant live on the fringes, their immortality having long turned into a curse that they can't help but cling to. Most have a not-undeserved reputation for depravity and madness (there are, as always, exceptions).
The Appetent Fellowship, home to the Suppliants, is the most prominent cult of the Mendicant Without and lies within the Fourth History. When one tires of the ordinary pleasures life has to offer, one joins the Fellowship. There can like-minded people be found, people who similarly hunger for deeper sustenance and find solace in each other's presence.
Those who embrace their insatiable appetites will find themselves branded with the Marks of Rapacity, which fill the body and empty the soul.
- Temptation: Rapacity: There is a greater satisfaction to be found.
- Dedication: Rapacity: I have dedicated myself to the search for absolute contentedness. I must satiate my deeper hungers, whatever the cost.
- Ascension: Rapacity: The Mendicant Without has altered my appetite. Food will no longer fill me, yet I must not starve. I know this to be the Third Mark.
- Ascension: Rapacity: The Fourth Mark has removed my need for sleep. There is an unnatural vitality to my movements. A haze has entered my mind and will not leave.
- Ascension: Rapacity: The company of others has lost its savor, though few can now resist the allure of the Fifth Mark that lies upon me. Every day brings a new fling, each more passionate and intense than the last. I would stop, but the choice is no longer mine.
- Ascension: Rapacity: My body craves ever greater thrills, but my mind is still. My desires have become necessities, as essential and dull as breathing air. The Sixth Mark coils around my mind like a wreath, or a collar.
- The Ruination of Substance: There is only hunger now. Though I engage in greater debauchery with each passing day, I feel no pleasure, and yet I cannot stop. Only the Mendicant's touch is real now, a hand resting gently on my shoulder as I dream. I will never be Crowned, but neither will I ever leave this world.
The Mendicant permits no Name and recognizes no servants officially. Despite this, several of its worshipers have risen to some degree of prominence. Those who embrace the Mendicant's ways will find themselves elevated to the rank of the Diffuse - immortal beings of tremendous vitality whose appetites anchor the soul to the body. Unlike the Long, the Diffuse can never enter the Mansus, as they are no longer able to dream above the Wood's treetops; in exchange, they gain a much more personal link with their Hour of worship, allowing them a level of privilege not ordinarily enjoyed by most Long. As such, a few have gained some particular prominence among the Diffuse.
The Germane, who Embraced
The Mendicant Without appoints no representative in the Temple Nil, and cares little for the affairs of the First City, yet its chair is not vacant. Ever the last to arrive and the first to stand, the Diffuse who styles himself the Germane never misses a meeting. Possessed of mirth, energy and passion unbounded, he acquires opinions and discards positions as suits his mood. There is more to him, of course, but, as he'll tell you, he's not here to talk about himself.
Cora, who Refused
Cora fights against what she has become every day. Her ascetic lifestyle is devoted to higher pursuits, and she denies herself all pleasures of the flesh. She never sleeps, for she fears losing control in her dreams. She is most commonly found meditating at the city's only temple to the Mendicant, of which she is the sole attendant. Her concentration must not break.
Vivian, who Surrendered
Some ways from the city's walls, where faith's light fails and the niveous peaks rise, the spectral figure of Vivian can occasionally be spotted as she pads softly through the snow. There is very little left of her now, but what remains can still speak. It would be better if it couldn't.
Near the edges of the Mansus, particularly its Gates. As a result of its reduced status, it is one of the more accessible Hours, often delighting in conversing with mortals, who rarely remember its words.
Thanks to help from The Bright-Delver and the The Architeuthian, the Mendicant has managed to regain access to the Aquarium, where it spends hours talking and even swimming with the Delver in its tank, learning ever more about the world, the Hours and the Glory.
Few locations are of particular significance to the Mendicant, as its cults have rarely been sufficiently organized or long-lasted to erect permanent worship sites. Despite this, there are a few sites that bear retain some link to it:
- The Hollow by the Street: an artificial cave in the midst of a major city of the Fourth History, dug out over the course of generations by forgotten occultists. It possesses many entrances, but few exits.
- The Anaconda: After the Mendicant disobeyed the Great Serpent's decree, breaking the truce within the Fourth History, the Anaconda was the Hour which exiled the Mendicant from the Fansus. Only the Delver's interference prevented the Anaconda from slaying the Mendicant on the spot; if the Delver was to be harmed by the Mendicant, that safety would surely be nullified.
- The Aged Bones: The Mendicant Without has been witnessed wandering by the Aged Bones' stained glass windows, where they occasionally hold a brief conversation. Sometimes the Aged Bones passes on secrets that she allows the Mendicant to spread among its followers.
- The Caladrius: FNORD
- The Architeuthian: As one of the few Hours who has allowed him access into the Mansus (specifically, the Aquarium, the Architeuthian is greatly appreciated by the Mendicant, whose gratefulness blinds it to the debt it is accumulating in so doing.
- The Watcher in the Window: FNORD
- The Elder Sister: The Witch-of-the-Woods sees in the Mendicant the same intriguing qualities that give her a fondness for humans. She would love to invite it into her Court, and never allow it to leave. The Mendicant, though it fears it, has also started to see its hatred of the Mansus as a useful tool.
- The Apple-of-the-Eye: 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 Silver Owl: FNORD
- The Snow-Stained: The Bully's Stick has no strong feelings about the Mendicant one way or another, but as in all things, it finds the separation of walls dissatisfying. It has attempted in the past to create a hole through which the Mendicant could pass, and will likely do so again in the future.
- The Fanged Bramble: The Mendicant fears this Hour greatly, as it is the primary reason why it never dares enter the Wood.
- The Bright-Delver: The Delver interceded on the Mendicant's behalf to prevent its death by Anaconda, and is doing her best to teach it how to be a proper Hour.
- The Insidious: The Insidious is on good terms with the Mendicant, having formed a secret alliance with it for mutual protection against some of the older, more established Hours.