|"We rise together."|
|Date of arrival||428 B.C.E.|
The Spirarch, also known as the Mediator and That-Which-Binds, is one of the Hours of the Second Fansus, created by Lyrositor. She was the first God-From-Light, arriving shortly after the Mother Bear's awakening. Her primary aspect is Forge, with secondary aspects of Lantern and Knock. She seeks to this day to unite the Glory and the Ground, as she did when she first emerged.
The Spirarch busies herself with bonding and agreements of all kind, preferably their establishment but also, when required, their rupture. She abhors endings, choosing instead to improve that which works and to repurpose that which does not. She is not an unkind Hour, and will advise those in need, but in exchange requires adherence to the paths she has laid out. Those who fail her or, worse, renege on their agreements are always given one more chance, no matter how heinous the offence; those who fail to redeem themselves will be made to do the Spirarch's bidding, one way or another.
Her sole Name, the Martinet, acts as her agent in the Histories, though she retains only nominal control over it nowadays. The Martinet attempted an ascension to Hourhood once, but was rebuffed by the Spirarch, who bound her with the threads of the Histories as punishment. Never again will she rise.
Before the Spirarch was extant, there were the Roots, themselves almost as old as the Glory itself. The remnants of a mistake from eons past, they surrounded the Glory from the inside and drank greedily of its light, siphoning endlessly. When the Other Place collapsed, the Glory was extinguished with it, and the Roots slept with their stolen energy. With the collapse, however, came another Hour, which had managed to escape into the Glory, disintegrating itself in the process. Some remnant of it endured, however, and lay dormant as the Light dimmed and went out.
When the Mother Bear awoke, the Glory reignited, followed by the Roots, who began to drink of it once more. As they did so, they ingested the particular fragments of the escaped Hour, beginning a slow but irreversible transformation in the process. For the first time, the Light was being given purpose, and the Roots grew downward, reaching slowly but surely for the ground far below. In the year 428 B.C.E., the Spirarch's white roots - now rapidly taking on the appearance of branches - were first seen emerging from the Glory, and shortly afterward she had grown almost all the way to the ground below.
As she neared the ground, it became apparent she would not have the strength to reach it, and she despaired momentarily. The sight of the Mother Bear and her Cub, however, led to the understanding that though the might of the Glory may not be sufficient on its own, there were other powers at play, some of which might be open to agreements. She decided to reach out to the greater of the two, and extended a branch to the Den to commune with its occupant. The Bear had in fact been warily regarding the Spirarch's gradual descent for some time, being unsure of its intentions. Their initial encounter was tense, but respectful, and once it became apparent that no hostilities were in store, the Spirarch was able to make her first ally in this new world.
The Union of Sky and Earth
The Slaying of the Stag
The Birth of the Glow
The Spirarch manifests as an enormous, wholly white tree descending from the Glory branches first, with her roots embedded deeply on the inside of the Glory. Her trunk extends almost all the way from the sky to the Edifice of the Mansus, tapering off into the branches that form the Arbory near the end. Her bark is made of polished marble that can be scratched but not broken, while her leaves are as soft and downy as a bird's plumage. Various black and grey vines lie draped about her, most hanging loosely from its branches, some as taut as can be.
One such vine claimed the Spirarch's first servant. As the Spirarch was completing its descent, one vine lashed out and caught a passing bird through its chest, piercing it from the back and emerging from the other side. But the bird did not die, as it had been claimed by the Spirarch, and it began to spoke with her voice instead. It can still be seen to this day, an injured sparrow impaled with a hook-edged vine, flying about the Mansus on the Spirarch's will.
The Spirarch is first and foremost defined by her Forge aspect, which serves as a building block for her outlook on the world. She views endings as lazy and unhelpful, and is thus generally inimical to Winter and what it represents. Where there is movement, there is change, and change is a necessary component for advancement. When adequate guidance is provided, all change can be made beneficial, hence the need for Lantern to illuminate the way. Through agreements, negotiation and compromise, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, and great progress is made possible. The Spirarch encourages such deals, whether with herself or between two parties, though deals made with her have a tendency to be inconveniently one-sided.
The ultimate goals of the Spirarch can be difficult to reason about, but broadly speaking she seeks to unify all worlds, using Knock to break down the barriers between them. Its branches extend outward into all the Histories, emerging in various out-of-the-way places, but do not reach to Nowhere yet; should its dalliance with the Worm conclude succesfully, there may well be no places beyond her reach.
As one of the oldest and most prominent Hours, cults and iconography of the Spirarch have spread far and wide. It actively encourages its worship, even occasionally going so far as to take the first step for particularly valuable candidates. It draws to itself the leaders, the visionaries, the brokers, who see in the Spirarch the power they need to bind others to their will and to reshape the world for the better. Those who pledge themselves to her are rarely allowed to leave her service.
When the deficiencies of the world become intolerable, the Spirarch may be approached for the power to rectify that which is crooked. As the Spirarch shares its strength, the body becomes scarred with the Marks of Reform.
- Temptation: Reform: This world is flawed, but I can fix it.
- Dedication: Reform: I have dedicated myself to the eradication of humanity's defects, at any cost.
- Ascension: Reform: The Spirarch has bound my writing hand with its tendrils. My acquaintances are as puppets to me now. With a well-placed word I turn rumor to fact in the public's mind. I know this to be the Third Mark.
- Ascension: Reform: I can feel something growing inside me, spreading every which way. I find I no longer need to think before I speak. This is the Fourth Mark.
- Ascension: Reform: The Fifth Mark has cost me my ability to walk. I rest at the center of a web that spans the continent. With a tug on a strand I topple empires. Nothing lies beyond my reach.
- Ascension: Reform: The branches growing inside me have broken free of my skin in several points. They spread in every direction, wedding me to my home. I feel every tremor on the skin of the world. This is the Sixth Mark.
- The Conjoining of Wills:
- Recipe: My reach extends skywards, higher, higher still, until it is met with branches that are not my own. The last flakes of my skin waft away as we intertwine and my mind is supplemented. I will pass no Gate, as I am already risen. I will be immortal: a Long, favoured of the Spirarch.
- Ending: The world lies below, but not beneath me. Though my body is my lesser appendage now, it will serve me well in the centuries to come. Perhaps I will discard it. Perhaps, one day, I will rise even higher. [Congratulations on a standard Reform victory. You have wrestled the game to its knees. There are other paths.]
Over the years, the Spirarch has established an intricate, globe-spanning network of servants ready to enact her will wherever it is required. The foremost among her servants are blessed with inhuman charisma and knowledge and often serve as advisers to some of the most powerful men and women in the world. Her Long are rarely seen, being unable to leave their homes, but their influence may be felt wherever the political game is played.
As the Spirarch's only Name, the Martinet appears as a towering humanoid mix of wings and light hovering inches above the ground. Her face is a brilliant radiance dotted with two pitch black voids that appear to consume the surrounding light. Two massive wings make up the rest, tightly folding upon themselves in such a way that most of her body is always hidden, while another, larger pair extends outwards to her sides. Only one of her feet and ankles peaks through, a scarred and blackened appendage attached to a heavy iron chain which she drags everywhere. The links of the chain taper off into nothingness, but the bond is real and inescapable for this Name. She will never leave the Histories again.
Whenever a task requires a more direct intervention than the Spirarch's other servants are capable of, she calls upon the Martinet to enact her will swiftly and brutally.
- The Storm-Tossed: The Spirarch vehemently opposes the Storm-Tossed and the chaos it brings. The Arbory is closed to it, though that doesn't always stop the Traveller.
- The Perennial: Little about the Perennial inspires the Spirarch, as she is contemptuous of its endless cycle of hope and despair. She resents its interference in the Age of Jazz for making matters worse.
- The Red Lady:
- The Hunter: The independence and volatility of the Hunter make it difficult for the Spirarch to get along with it, though she is not above enlisting his help when he is willing.
- The Masquerade:
- The Bright Tapestry: The Spirarch appreciates what the Bright Tapestry's is trying to accomplish, though she is somewhat bemused by its methods.
- The Die-Cutter: While the Spirarch holds nothing but contempt for the Die-Cutter's promotion of gambling, she has sometimes found herself needing its assistance when her best laid plans failed. She respects its power, if not its methods.
- The Mother Bear: The first bargain, the Accord, was struck with the Mother Bear when the Cub first relayed her greetings, and their relationship has since been a genial, if largely uneventful one. They appreciate and respect each other, and are content to go about their respective business. The Spirarch only wishes she could change its mind more often.
- The Maw Consuming: Pointless at best, dangerous at worst. Few interactions.
- The Succulent Glow: While she is conflicted in her view of the Glow, ultimately the Spirarch pities it more than anything else, along with those who hide beneath its cap. She sees it as living proof of what can happen when her paths are not followed and still hopes one day to "heal" it.
- The Knife's Edge: The neutrality of the Knife's Edge prevents the Spirarch from truly liking it, as it has interfered in her plans several times. Some of its warnings have been useful to her nonetheless, for which she is thankful.
- The Warrior Maid: The Spirarch is wary of the Maid, though she is still compelled to enlist its help on occasion.
- The Ferric Brand: Though the Spirarch favors changes far broader and far-reaching than any mere bodily alterations can accomplish, she finds the Ferric Brand's talents useful on occasion, and tries to remain on good terms with it.
- The Monument: The Spirarch has had few opportunities to interact with the Monument, but though it admires its willpower and ambition, it considers them tragically misdirected towards a past that is now irrelevant.
- The Cub: The Cub and the Spirarch seldom meet, as their respective duties keep them well apart, but she has great respect for its diligence in enforcing the rules of their House.
- The Seraph: There is little to be said about the relationship between the two, as they have agreed to a truce. They will occasionally exchange small favours.
- Flint-and-Steel: The Spirarch has often felt a kinship with this Hour, though she considers it considerably more reckless than it has reason to be.
- Our Lady Betrayed:
- The Worm Funktastic: The Spirarch does not understand the funkiness of the Worm, but she has decided she does not like it. The Unending Worm appears to appreciate it, however, which goes some way to raise her opinion of it.
- The Rotted Ox: Everything about the Ox is repulsive to the Spirarch, who has no desire to conduct any business with it as a result.
- Our Lady's Resolve:
- The More-Opened: The brutal recklessness of the More-Opened is not something the Spirarch approves of, even if she similarly seeks to open doors for others. It is simply a matter of opening the right doors to the right people at the right time, which the More-Opened seems bafflingly unconcerned with.
- The Unending Worm: Of all the Hours, the Spirarch feels closest in kin to the Worm, though it comes from a diametrically opposed place and they are the furthest apart physically. It understands its yearning, and though its own ambitions are not quite as all-consuming, it empathizes with it. She will not be satisfied until they have met. Rumors of a romantic interest have been greatly exaggerated.
- The Clavier: The abilities of the Clavier are of great interest to the Spirarch, who has partnered with it to serve as a vector of the delivery of its manufactured thoughts. She does not entirely trust it, however, and is cautious in her dealings with it.