Monday, 6 March 2017

The House of Black Arkat

Mythos and History
When Arkat Liberated the Shadowlands, he revealed many previously unknown secrets.
Most could not grasp them, and viewed them as simply another facet of Arkat's greatness, but a few could understand what Arkat spoke of, and wanted to learn more.
Arkat brought these worthies together, both Uz and Man, and taught them the true nature of the cosmos.
All existence was born from the great darkness, Xentha, who is the mother of all. Here, everything was bliss: the Earth was nurturing, soft and warm; there was no hunger, pain, or strife.
And then came the Deceiver, Gbaji.
Arkat depicted as a Half-Troll
Arkat declared that Gbaji was known by many masks: Evil Emperor, Teller of Lies, Most Bad Man, and now Nysalor.
Gbaji was all that Xentha was not, he was still, barren, bright, hard and hollow. And he envied Xentha. He declared all that Xentha was as wrong, and that he was the only right. He led many of Xentha's children away, into a world of pain, sorrow, and harshness.
Arkat's followers were shocked to discover this was the world they now lived in.
Those who did not flee in horror, were taught by Arkat how they could manipulate this world of Gbaji, to break his deceptions and reveal the truth. He showed how everything was made from the raw darkness, allowing them to turn earth to air, and air to water, for all was originally darkness.
When Arkat went north, to take the fight to Gbaji, many of his followers remained, to teach the truth to those who would listen.
They wrote down his teachings, and kept them in a great temple they named Arkat's Hold after their teacher, and so in turn they became known as the House of Black Arkat.
Here they have remained.
Even when the God Learners invaded, they were never able to breach the walls of Arkat's Hold, and when they fell, the House of Black Arkat was opened once again.

Nature of the House
Arkat was the greatest hero ever to walk Glorantha. He was many things in his lifetime. Man, troll, knight, berserker, liberator, deceiver, king and devil. He betrayed his closest friends and allies in order to save the world.
His followers are sorcerers, mystics, and scholars.

Particular Likes and Dislikes
The House's oldest and greatest allies are the cults of darkness, especially the cults of Argan Argar -- who came before Arkat and was Xentha's son, and Zorak Zoran -- who is one of the greatest enemies of Chaos. The House is also friendly to most Esrolian cults, if for no other reason than to ensure the sanctity of Arkat's Hold.
The House is usually reviled by cults of light and sky, who view Arkat's message as blasphemy. Likewise, the House treats them with disdain, viewing them as those most wrapped up in Gbaji's Deceptions. Only against the cults of Chaos will the Arkati willingly ally with those who follow the sun.

House Organization
The House has no single authority. Each Mage has effective independence from the others, students are free to listen to whichever Mage they wish. The wizards of the House in truth have only one master, Arkat himself.
Unknown to most Gloranthans, a single chapter of the House has been established deep within the Troll Woods in Heortland. Here the near-human Kitori learn the Arkati arts, at the feet of a displaced Arkati Mage.

Holy Days
The House has no specific holy days or nights, but the cult acknowledges Freezeday as a naturally potent time to perform many of their rituals.

Sample Grimoires
The House of Black Arkat holds within its libraries many different ancient texts written by a multitude of sources, including the followers of Arkat, and even the Great Hero himself. Few Arkati will know even half of the hidden lore kept within their walls, but this pair of grimoires are those most commonly used by sorcerers of the House of Black Arkat:

The Lead Grimoire
This grimoire describes the metal of darkness, the bones of Xentha, the material form of the Darkness Rune, which was used to make the foundation of the world. By studying this grimoire, sorcerers can learn how to manipulate this substance, as well as the raw darkness itself. Sample spells include:
  • Enchant Lead: This spell summons the Darkness Rune to fill a leaden object, cleansing it of impurities, and turning it into enchanted form of the Rune Metal.
  • Project Senses: This spell combines the Darkness Rune with the Truth Rune, allowing the sorcerer to send their senses into a patch of shadow, allowing them to see and hear everything as if they were inside the shadows.
  • Sense Lead: This spell commands the Darkness Rune within all nearby sources of lead to make themselves known. The sorcerer can then find the lead through the supernatural inky patches created.
  • Shape Lead: This spell combines the Darkness Rune within lead with the Movement Rune, allowing the sorcerer to mould and form the metal is if it were clay, and then to set it into a new shape.
  • Solidify Darkness: This spell combines the Darkness Rune within a patch of shadow with the Stasis Rune, allowing the sorcerer to touch and manipulate the shadows as if they were a solid object.
  • Summon Shade: This spell summons the Darkness Rune into a shadow, animating it to perform the sorcerer's will.

The Hepherones Texts
This series of first age Rinliddi scrolls predates Arkat, and is said to have been war booty gained during his invasion of Peloria. The texts were cleansed, purified, and examined for Truth. The resulting documents and exegesis form a grimoire that the Arkati use to manipulate the connection between the Middle World and the Other Side. Spells derived from the text include:
  • Dominate Spirit: This spell commands the Magic Rune within a spirit, allowing the sorcerer to give it irresistible commands.
  • Enhance Spirit: This spell summons the Magic Rune into a spirit, strengthening and reinforcing them, granting them temporary extra power.
  • Mystic Vision: This spell combines the sorcerer's Magic Rune with the Truth Rune, connecting the sorcerer's own connection with the Other Side, allowing them to sense the magical abilities of living creatures and objects.
  • Neutralize Magic: This spell dismisses the Magic Rune within an existing spell or other magical effect, cutting off its connection with the Other Side, and causing it to fail.
  • Protective Circle: This spell combines the Magic Rune with the Stasis Rune, creating an invisible, intangible wall around the sorcerer. This wall resists all magic passing one way or another, creating a sanctuary for the sorcerer.
  • Summon Spirit: This spell summons the Magic Rune, creating a connection with a known and named spirit, allowing the sorcerer to call them into the world.

Although they would never use the term themselves, the House of Black Arkat is also a source of Illumination. Arkat's teachings of the original cosmos, before Gbaji's separation, provides the mystical awakening similar to Nysalorian Illumination. The House of Black Arkat prefers the terms gnosis, or wisdom, to refer to this state.
This allows members of the House to do many things others would regard as impossible, including uniting opposing powers and elements (as all things are merely a part of the original darkness; and joining cults normally opposed to each other, such as Argan Argar and Veskarthan (for the Illuminate knows that their feud is nothing before the cosmic truths.)
Most members who become Illuminated do so through their Darkness Rune, but other paths have occasionally occurred.

Esrolian Arkati, meditating on the Gods' War through the wisdom of Arkat.

A member of the House of Black Arkat with a rating of 11W or more in one of his grimoires, who has also become Illuminated may seek to become a Mage of the House.
Mages of the House of Black Arkat otherwise function as per the rules in HeroQuest: Glorantha, page 174.
Few Mages ever leave the walls of Arkat's Hold via its gates. Most spend their time in meditation and education, teaching the less learned of Arkat's secrets.
When they do leave Arkat's Hold, it is usually only to venture to the Other Side, to thwart Gbaji's deception and to seek the original world.
With the coming of the Hero Wars, this state of affairs will not be able to last, and the Mages of Arkat will be forced to refute Gbaji's deceptions directly.