Tuesday 31 March 2015

Abominations of the Black Sun #1: The Throng of Bestials

A Bestial of the Palace of the Black Sun, City of the Golden Gates.
You should see them run in packs through the streets, trails of spittle and urine behind them, manes matted with blood and incense.

They are performing the Rite, seeking sacrifices to devour. You should imagine the horror of a commoner as she gazes through the upper window of her home, sees the pack descend upon an unwitting slave, recognises on the arm of one the wedding tattoo of her lost daughter, taken into the temple a month ago.You should see them in the temple as they administer the astral drug to the celebrants, grinning, tongues lolling, licking comatose limbs, writhing against immobile human bodies. You should see the flesh pits, an unsleeping mass of unhuman bacchants.

The Bestials were once just another despised experiment of the Black Sun, a human body and an animal, both souls annihilated forever, the body made the receptacle of the debased elemental spirits the Cult of the Black Sun worships. Now they are crafted in the flesh-pits that litter the City of the Golden Gates in swarms. Their purpose is to be the celebrants in the Elemental rites, a link between human and primordial spirits. They howl, bark, hiss their liturgies to the Black Sun, run in packs daily through Outer Rings of the City at noon in search of sacrifices, their hunt itself an ecstatic rite. Without victims, they fall on and devour each other. But the Black Banner has no lack of the poor, no lack of slaves, no lack of disposable souls. And the soldiers herd more into the fleshvats daily.
Bestial of the Black Sun
Cups 6, Pentacles 4, Swords 2, Wands 7
Cards 1
Attributes: Body 5, City 3, People 2, Psychic 2
Note 1: Another NPC stat. The GM has one stat and one hand of cards, and the more opponents the characters have, the bigger the GM's hand. It's capped at ten cards, though. If it's more than ten, the GM takes the first ten and then, when they're played, takes the next 10 (or however many) until there are none left. Because having to navigate a hand of thirty cards is nightmarish.

Note 2: From the original source material: "But see! out of the passage whence had emerged Oduarpa, comes a wild procession; hairy bipeds, long-armed and claw-footed, with animals' heads and manes streaming over shoulders, horrent, appalling, non-human, yet horribly human. They hold in their claw-like hands phials and boxes, and as they mingle with the wildest dancers they give these to the revellers most mad with drink and lust. These smear over their limbs the ointment in the boxes, drink the contents of the phials, and lo! they drop senseless, huddled on the ground, but from each huddled heap there springs an animal form, snarling, ravening, and vanishes from the cavern into the darkness of the outside night." - CW Leadbeater/Annie Besant, Lives of Alcyone ch.9 (AKA Man: Whence, How and Whither)

Leadbeater as a prose stylist is weird to read, all esoteric stuff alternating with fruity Edwardian romance in the style of Lord Lytton, like the above.