“Memory. That is what that the Seraphs are—Reminders of the Law of Parity. We must keep Balance regardless of the length of our Age. They stand between Light and Dark. For the Light may nurture and it may burn. For the Dark may devour and it may shelter. We in Shadow, We under Radia… we must remember Balance for all time. I speak this as one who walked these lands before the Seraphs. To forget their lesson is to know nightmare and fire.”
-Ceradon, First to Rise, House of Heights
City of Seven Seraphs: Parities
Since the founding of the City, it was decreed that for its stability and reality to remain there must be Balance. As such the settlers exploring the depths of the Shadow Plane and studying Radia, the Etherstorm were required to organize into opposed groups. These groups were divided into Dark and Light to define a larger Balance and seven were formed for each side. Some claim this schema is the result of whether a Parity benefited more from the Shadow Plane (Dark) itself or the Etherstrom, Radia (Light). Others claim the divide was more… ethical… in nature. Dozens of other theories exist investigating their origins. The fourteen Parities are:
The Dark Parities:
- The Sanguine Sovereignty – Arguably the oldest Parity of the City, this organization is dominated by various forms vampirism and is difficult to separate from the Faith Devoured, the religion of Aphos the Hungerer. Its members espouse the power of generational entitlement and weigh the difference between hunger and excess.
- The Temple of Coin – The Parity was founded by Aphos’ own spawn when she decided to sell the Gift (of vampirism) to the highest bidder. In time the Parity began to acquire and re-market other forbidden secrets, indulge in usury and simony, and have accrued a fortune described as virtually limitless.
- The Thunderchildren – Commanders of a local portal to Elemental Earth and the Vesicle Mines, the Thunderchildren study strength and weakness, seeking to master the perfect Strike–a balance of force and discipline measured to the task of the destruction–perfect efficiency.
- The Icegrave Enclave – Morticians of the metropolis, the ferrymen of the Parity boat the dead from the Docks to the iceberg island of the Icetomb. They maintain sculpted frozen mausoleums for those that can afford it and their whisperers question the dead for those that can’t, gaining vital secrets from all over the multiverse. The poor and uninfluential are frostwelded to the exterior of the isle adding to its icy fastness.
- The Blackblades – The guards of the Prisons, this Parity takes pleasure in Endings. From the garish guillotines of its Chopyard to the darkest cells of the Prison where their nihilistic urges find satiety. It is little wonder that so many “reform” under their care joining their ranks rather than facing their “justice.”
- The Bookbinders – The keepers of the Archives and curators of many private collections are precisely that, keepers. Often viewed as a loose clutch of antisocial book-hoarders, the Bookbinders have a deadly seriousness in pursuing their charge–no less than the accumulation and control of the totality of Knowledge. They often value books above their own lives and almost certainly above those of others.
- The Hands of Onus – The Hands or Obliged, as they are often called, believe that burden is sacred. To carry the weight of a task, debt or even concept is to have meaning. They serve as civic authorities and magistrates for the City, staff its courts and maintain the Wellness Houses (sanitariums) of the city. Ever they strive to mend the broken with the weight of duty.
The Light Parities:
- The House of Heights – This Parity sees the purpose of Life is to Live… endlessly. Undeath and other transitional life-extensions are seen as false, instead focusing on the principles of Eternal ascension. The members of the House see themselves as gods in the making and often act the part even founding churches and in some cases, granting spells to worshipers.
- The Ashborn – The caretakers of the great Orchards, the Ashborn also staff the city walls providing an aggressive first line of defense. Praising the need to Destroy to clear the way for new Creation, they wield their cleansing fire to protect new life.
- The Steamwalkers – This Parity focuses on the need to innovate. The way to the future is paved with experimentation, collaborative conflict and risk. Seen as mad-scientists by most of the other Parities, the miraculous results are often not considered equal to the dangers they pose.
- The Foreseen – A psionic and psychic collective that focuses on precognitive insight. They are often accused of manipulative actions and self-fulfilling prophecy. However, the other Parities have been forced to acknowledge the timely warnings and accurate predictions the Foreseen providing assuring their place in city governance.
- The Chrysalis Covenant – The advocates of personal transformation, this Parity seeks paths to psychic enlightenment, mutable shapechanging or more lasting evolutions. They also manage the Grand Hospice and healing houses of the body.
- The Descendants of Dream – Artists and philosophers debating the notion of reality, the general consensus of the Parity is that life is created by Dreams. They sponsor public Debate Kivas, Theatres and Art Collectives where people can explore the Muse of the Great Dream and argue its resolution as reality.
- The Eternal Dawning – A crusade from the Prime Worlds that was stranded in the Planes after its homeworld was lost, the Dawning is actually the second group to occupy its Tower in the Seraphs’ Ring. The Lightbringers (the tower’s original occupants) vanished from the City centuries ago. They often are considered interlopers and “tourists” by the Eternals and long-lived races of the City.
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