Amaranth (The Unfading Bards)
"I am of the race spawned from the soft petal, the drop of poison, the razor thorn and the impenetrable seed. I am rooted in eternity like a banner, stirred by the winds of change, rich with the hues of unearthly inspiration and the threads of epic tales. Always I turn my face to the Light and if fortunate, find others who can be enlightened. Those I choose can never be the same again, for in them I germinate the newborn seed of genius and hope and divine madness."
Amaranth Sanctuaries tend to be within deep forests which, due to their presence, become beautiful and deadly to animals. These forests have been called "faery" by mortals stumbling upon them since they fade in an out of another dimension.
The Amaranth control the resplendent mantle of Talitha, an undiscovered mountainous island paradise in the South Pacific covered with breathtaking phosphorescent forests, bio-luminescent flowers and grasses of every hue, size and species, a botanical paradise. Talitha is concealed from satellites and lies well beyond the worlds shipping lanes.
They maintain control over many botanical gardens, national parks and protected wilderness. They are also a moving force in Hollywood, Broadway and the music scene worldwide.
In their prime aspect, Amaranth appear as a small area of large perfect plant specimens, exotic by todays standards since many of the botanical species they represent have been extinct for millions of years. Modern Himsati forms include roses, thistles, orchids of all varieties, lilies, cactus and mistletoe. The life-force of the immortal is distributed throughout this area, known as a bower, making it necessary to target all the plants rather than individuals to do him harm. The bower covers an area of up to 20 x20 x20 feet and grows among existing plants.
In human form while activating the colored aspects of his himsati, an Amaranth appears as a humanoid of unearthly beauty whose skin bears the tones of wood, whose glowing eyes hold the vibrant tint of petals and whose hair is stamen-like, emitting radiant and fragrant pollen. With activated Himsati natures, they become as deadly as they are fair. Thorns adorn their skin and tongues, vines reach out to grasp their prey like tentacles and petals flow behind them as great billowing cloaks. For ages the Druids have held this shape of the Amaranth in awe.
System Note: Attacks on the Amaranth Himsati
The distribution of the Amaranths life-force through the bower makes it difficult to harm him while in this form. All attacks against an Amaranth while he has assumed the prime aspect of his Himsati form must target the entire bower rather than individual plants.
The Himsati gift of the Amaranth, Bower, grants him a +1 bonus applied to all resistance, passive or rolled, for every 3 CI he possesses as if his attacker were under a multiple target penalty. This bonus is applied against any form of attack, mundane weapons or serenades (except for fire.) Overcoming the resistance deals damage to the area of the bower in the same manner as to an individual creature.
In addition to their ability to regenerate while among plants identical to their Himsatis, all Amaranth also regenerate in sunlight. This additional benefit of the regeneration nature applies to all Amaranth and to no other plant Himsati form. This ability comes from the Amaranths history among the Sunedrion (see history below.)
Bower (Amaranth Gift)
In human form Amaranth appear slender and exotic with bottomless magnetic eyes and skin as soft as the petal of a flower. Unless in combat, they move with slow grace.
Amaranth do not wear clothes, although they will often use illusions generated by allure or metaphor serenades to appear clothed to mortals. This practice of ritual nudity actually grants additional damage resistance to the immortal, as discussed below under character advantages. Amaranth bodies often bear tattoos of some sort, reflecting their fondness for ancient Celtic thought and to carry around their most prized possessions.
While they do not wear clothes, Amaranth do wear armbands as a symbol of allegiance and status among their own people. This band is never removed.
Male: About 80% Female: About 20%. Female Amaranth are extremely rare and enigmatic; their beauty is legendary even among the gods.
Today the Amaranth continue their search for mortals with Milesian blood, inspiring them to awaken the Light flowing in their veins and hoping to create a brotherhood of power as a mighty weapon against the Beast in the end battle.
Amaranth are bards. They sing, tell stories, compose poetry, dance and perform a host of other arts. To witness their performance is to be utterly lost in it. In the modern world you will see many of them as rock stars, actors both on screen and stage, and poets. They live to inspire.
All Amaranth search for Milesian blood among humans. They can only sense this "bright blood" by physically touching someone who has it. They spend time among those they suspect of having the bright blood to ascertain the potency of the blood and thus the potential for greatness.
Amaranth will not partake of Milesian life-force, whether the donor is willing or not. Those with the blood are sacred. This often pits the Amaranth against the Anopheles, who relish Milesian blood above all other kinds.
Amaranth are obsessed with bloodlines. They will often watch an entire family line known to have the bright blood in its veins. They will continue to appear as lovers and mentors to members within the family where the blood is strong. Unlike the Eremites, whose breeding program aims to produce superior human stock, Amaranth refuse to meddle in the course of the bright blood. This often brings them into conflict with the Eremites eugenics program, which they disrupt at every opportunity.
Female Amaranth often appear to bright-blooded members of their patron families when they are dying, wailing with sadness. This practice has earned them the name Bean Si (ban-shee) by mortals of the Amaranths ancestral Ireland.
As for normal humans, Amaranth have a plan for them as well a scheme which has thus far kept them from gaining Pride status in the Perpetual Society. Amaranth believe that human beings have the right to evolve themselves and become part of the immortal society. This position is scorned by members of the perpetual society (except by the Eremites, who are intrigued with the notion.)
Amaranth dislike herbivorous creatures, who they consider stupid and destructive. They cultivate alliances with insects whose sheer logic makes them predictable and therefore more trustworthy. Plant-eating insects are excluded.
Amaranth have unique taboos, listed below. These taboos recurrently manifest among this group because of ancient superstition inflicted upon them by the Celtic tribes they inspired.
Legacies: Amaranth gain the first rank of the following legacies at no cost: Catholicon, Esteem, Valor
Serenades: Amaranth gain the first rank of any three of the following serenades at no cost. All other serenades on this list are at a complexity rank of 4 for Amaranth characters: Allure, Amnesia, Charm, Clarion, Come-hither, Dare, Endue, Evensong, Galatea, Metaphor, Mystique, Nostrum, Rapier, Tattoo, and Welkin
The Bright Kiss:
Song Of Courage:
Whenever an Amaranth speaks, his voice is so unearthly that his supernatural origin is betrayed. Anyone hearing his voice will note its musical quality. Mortals who are unaware of the existence of immortals will find this quality compelling and unusual, but any mortal who is aware of the existence of immortals, as well as immortals themselves, will know instantly the Amaranths non-human identity.
The following are taboos which, selected by the player for his character, grants him + 5 starting memory points per rank instead of the normal +3.
Whenever an Amaranth draws a weapon in anger, the sky above him becomes star-filled night. (Rank 4)
Plants follow the Amaranth as if he were the sun. (Rank 2)
Axes or pure Iron causes +1 damage for every rank of taboo.
The panacea will not operate when the Amaranth is exposed to fire; he does not regenerate fire damage. (Rank 5)
His serenades suffer a -5 penalty unless the Amaranth is nude. (Rank 3)
Wherever the Amaranth sleeps, flowers of his own Himsati grow. (Rank 1)
Whenever an Amaranth touches dead wood, it sprouts leaves and flowers. (Rank 3)
Any song sung by the Amaranth drives its mortal listeners insane. (Rank 4)
Anyone the Amaranth touches ages 1D10 x 10 years at the end of the scene. (Rank 5)
The hair, eyes and skin tone reflect the changing colors of the seasons in the following combinations: Spring: Blond, light green or hazel eyes, normal skin tone for racial type. Summer: Auburn hair, dark green or brown eyes, tanned, complexion. Autumn: Bright red hair, golden eyes, ruddy skin tone. Winter: Platinum blond or jet black hair, icy blue eyes, pale skin. (Rank 2)
Amaranth ply the Stratagem with the same zeal as the other Prides, but unlike the other Prides, they believe mortals have the same rights to evolve into the Light. This attitude is instrumental in keeping the Amaranth from being acknowledged as a full-fledged Pride, mainly because they practice what they preach.
Amaranth will grant Name (visage) they have earned themselves to worthy heroes bear the Bright blood, increasing their physical attributes and instilling them with additional power. While other Prides stridently object, the Jury seems completely indifferent and has never awarded Name to anyone attempting to count coup against the Amaranth for this practice.
By giving twilights some of his name, an Amaranth automatically creates a bond between himself and the recipient. This bond is not a control measure, but more a kinship so strong that it often transcends the most loyal blood kinship. These are known as Paladins
Other than this practice, Amaranth prosecute the Stratagem normally and will seek vendetta against any immortal who kills or causes harm to one of their Paladins.
Anopheles: "Anopheles use Man---they do not seek to inspire and elevate him as we. They call us vampires like themselves because our inspiration often drives those we awaken to early graves. What the Anopheles do not understand is that, while they lived, their lives were glorious and changed the world forever. All Anopheles know is how to drain the glory out of life."
Arachne: "Fascinating creatures whose brilliance is worthy of more admiration than it receives. We do not fear the Arachne as others do, for their logic breeds trustworthiness. There is much we can teach them, if they will only sacrifice the geometric delights of their logic."
Banjax "Necromancers working toward the freedom of every soul. A respectable goal, yet dont they realize that all souls must inevitably fall under the pennant of Light or Darkness? They should be working more towards building community rather than spreading chaos."
Cur: "These hunters of Darkness sometimes make mistakes whose cost is incomprehensible to the future, for brilliance in a psychopath is still brilliance. They must learn that not all human evil is the result of the Beast, and some can be saved if we will simply guide them. Even so, the Cur cause is just, especially considering the past blunders of the Magdalen."
Dracul: "Mysterious and self-contained, these people are guided by a Spirit of Light we have never known. We admire their way---what we know of it, that is."
Eremites: "We share goals with the Eremites in the glorification of Man, but these zealots would have Man placed above us. Is that not saying that the Beast should be placed above us, for It surely lives in Man. The Eremites should be more choosy about those they wish to save and less contemptuous of those who are their allies."
Infernum: "Sad creatures who constantly try to prove their worth to others. Do they not know they are already worthy to be counted among us?"
Magdalen: "Arrogant and power-hungry, it is a wonder we all have not been destroyed by their meddling in human superstition. Humanity cannot be a weapon, but must instead be an ally! How typical of these high-brow academians to underestimate the heart and mind of Man. We have no time for these idiots."
Morrigan: "Another band of fools who think they can rule from on high forever. Their bird-brains cannot fathom that a remote sovereign is soon despised by his people. Our most bitter rivals who undo all that we build out of sheer despite. One day they will spiral to earth without a comforting tree to roost in. Let us see how well they do against the predators of the ground."
Nimrod: "Never trust anyone who lives in her own shadow, for Darkness is the next step inside it."
Peri: "On the surface it seems they are quick to use violence at every opportunity. We suspect the truth. The Peri consider themselves the last resort when all other solutions have failed. We find this noble and honorable."
Phoenix: "Fires that must be tamed before they burn the whole forest down. At least they are redeemed by their wish to cultivate the good and purge the bad. They must learn to hear the counsel of others on what is good and bad. Until then, they are a danger to themselves, us and all we try to build against the Beast."
Roane: "We do not pretend to understand them, nor trust them. Too many secrets lie buried in the oceans."
Saturna: "They see both sides of life and death and have much to teach us."
Shonelkidar: "We must know more about these strange beings. Until then, we can only watch them and handle them with extreme care."
Tautha: "Brothers and sisters in spirit, we appreciate their desire to protect the Trees of Light. Unfortunately this purpose often brings us into conflict with them and hard feelings have many times resulted. They must understand that the Trees exist as salvation for all of us, not just themselves."
Terat: "Magnificent creatures who have stood in the Darkness and still howl in defiance! They take the battle into the Beasts lair. All should look upon them and see the pounding heart of eternal courage!"
Sanguinary: We see the Darkness embodied by this alien menace. We must shed Light wherever the Beasts influence falls.
Silence: The Silence of Nimrod is sensible. There is no need to allow the enemy knowledge of the extent of our powers.
Habitat: This is the chosen battlefield of the Beast. We must know the field before we can be victorious on it.
Dominions: Not so ruined as others would have us believe. We understand that there are many weapons there which may turn the tide against the enemy in the Rapture.
Crucible: Once paradise, it passes on its legacy to this universe. Let it twinkle in the night like a star and pass away. We will not forget it.
Morpheum: The world of dreams is fertile ground in which to plant seeds of dissension against the enemy.
Stratagem: An interesting method to teach ourselves how to defeat the enemy, yet we must allow mortals to enter into such enlightenment.
Profane: There is nothing profane except the corruption of the Beast. Isnt that apparent after all of these ages?
Ingenue: Splendid examples of what we all should be.
Conundrum: Dark seeds who will become a crop of annihilation if they are allowed to fulfill their purpose.
Sinning: Only those who are not of the Bright Blood can cleanse us. Never again will we take Light from another living creature unless he be fated to die.
Himsati: Our true forms may contain a dark seed, but they once stood in the Light and will stand there again.
Humanity: Overall, a corrupted species. Yet there are rare flowers among them that should be cultivated, nourished and inspired to greatness. Let them be part of our army against the Beast!
Originally, the Amaranth were thought by the Perpetual Society to be plants that grew up around the Sunedrion, and were infected by Conundrum and became Immortal. It is said that they are the plants that lived in and around the Sunedrion during the 1st Bloom. The power of the Bloom gave the Amaranth what is known as the Bright Blood. People who spend time with an Amaranth tend to become brilliant in their chosen field (like musicians, composers, writers, etc.) but later they tend to go mad. The Amaranth can "sense" Malesians, and search for them to use against the Sanguinary. (Malesians were a tribe of humans who lived in the same area during the 1st Bloom and also were gifted with the Bright Blood).
The origins of the Amaranth have changed,
with new knowledge of Blue Air. There has been confusion with Immortal historians as
to where the White Abzulim actually came from. We do know that as the Sanguinary was
ravaging the Crucible, devouring the other transcedants there, the Sunedrion (who had
escaped) were discovered by a group of dreamers who carried them out of the Blue Air and
into the "corporeal universe." These dreamers set themselves up as
guardians almost immediately. We know they created the Nadir. They also took corporeal
form on earth to fight the "Afflicted Ones."
Today, the Amaranth compete heavily with the Phoenix in the entertainment industry, all the while searching for those with the Bright Blood, or those that perhaps they can "Brighten". Ireland and the Celtic mythologies are a big part of the Amaranth history.