Today we are looking once more at Hyraeatan, City in Shadow. The demiplanar metropolis is ruled by a Council comprised of fourteen rival factions known as the Parities. The Parities espouse the titular balance of Light and Dark as such claims seven of each. Carrying the weight of the suffering of the City falls to the Hands of Onus, the Dark Parity also known as the Obliged…
Nicknames: Lugs, Staggers, Whitecoats, the Obliged
Beliefs: Burden is sacred. Burden is strength. Burden is focus. The weight of promises, commitments and sheer physical labor is the path to perfecting the self, so say the Hands of Onus. Arriving in the earliest days of Hyraeatan’s founding the Hands simply cited it was their obligation to help and within a few short days were accepted into the forming Council in the Shadows.
The Plane of Shadow is hard on the minds of many who are not native to it. This truth was one of the earliest the Hands of Onus shared and claimed responsibility for those who could not maintain balance in the face of the extremes of illusion, quasi-reality and negative energy suffusing the plane. The Parity founded the Great Sanitarium, a house dedicated to healing the minds and spirits of those bent and broken by the tides of Shadow. At times, the Parity has been accused of claiming the broken minded to gather intelligence and learn the secrets of the City at large. When confronted with this most members simply state, “Would you take on the burden?”
This questioning pattern in turn soon entrenched them as witnesses to those who really did want to take on burdens, promises, and bindings. In the early history of Hyraeatan it wasn’t long before it was required to have one of the Hands of Onus at any nearly ceremony or event that was to be considered legal or official. While the other Parities have whittled this requirement down to a small number of required instances, most natives still consider it a matter of tradition to have one of the Obliged present for many occasions.
Primary Facilities: The Tower of Oaths is a civic center to register legal documentations that are secular in nature, including non-religious weddings, business dealings and estate transfers. The Temple of Coin has taken many of these daily operations out of the Parties hands by offering “processing fees” and the filing the papers with the Hands in bulk.
Allied and Enemy Parities: The Hands of Onus’ philosophy gains them the respect of many members of all the Parities but their strongest allies are those that take on the least desirable functions of the Cities. The healers of the Chrysalis Covenant, the entombers of the Icegrave Enclave and even the jailers of the Blackblades all count the Hands as staunch supporters. The fickle muses of the Descendants of Dream have clashed spectacularly in the past, particularly when the Hands have tried to hold them accountable for their own initiatives in Council. The Eternal Dawning repeatedly rebuffed initial overtures of alliance and has earned a cool distrust from the leaders of the Hands of Onus though this rarely translates to the general membership.
Desired Membership: Some claim the Hands of Onus are the most diverse Parity in Hyraeatan as that it is conviction to a obligation, promise or burden that draws their attention. This can takes so many forms that recruiters often seem arbitrary to the outside eye but everyone from committed married couples to vengeance-sworn swordsmen may find themselves visited by the Hands.
Rewards: Members are often offered loans of enormous sums of money, powerful magic, and other resources as they need. These loans are often extremely minimal in payment schedule and extremely long in term. Members then are offered missions to further one others burdens in exchange for mitigation of payment in terms. Many members claim to have never actually had needed to pay even a single coin due to the services they render to one another. The completion of these services and progress towards carrying the burdens of the self is set to result in enlightenments that strengthen a members ability to suffer greater loads.
Denials: The requirements of the Parity are fairly simple in concept if complex in actual daily life. The members are required to remain burdened by or indebted to someone or something at all times. The debt can be a burden of honor, a promise to deliver something, or even a promise to a friend. Many members claim multiple obligations at once to ensure the weight of Burden is ever present assuring their continued development.
More info on Hyraeatan can be found in the Mythic Paths of the Lost Spheres appendix and the upcoming Book of Beyond WIP. Hyraeatan, City in Shadow will be available later this year. For our other products visit: d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.
OGL Note: None of this entry is considered Open Content.