Friday 10 April 2015

Lawkeepers of the Akâshic Colleges

Another phone photo, yeah. But all of this is a draft, so it'll do.
The sky glowers over this village's Open Place today, and the crowd is subdued. Four stakes stand in a row, to each riveted a pair of metal loops. To each the priestess's pair of silent, chained Rmoahals shackle, almost apologetically, one of the poor of the region. 

An old man, silent face a mask of outrage, a motherly woman, stony and immobile, a skinny, raw-boned youth in his teens screaming injustice, and a short, black haired woman, a picture of dignity and sadness.

And when the shackled prisoners are fastened and the slaves withdraw, Elixândë, the Akâshic Nun, pulls back the curtain of her sedan chair, and approaches across the square, black shining robes rustling over the cobbles.
She walks along the row of prisoners, silent, pleading, yelling dire curses, and then back to the beginning.

Ignoring the boy's abuse - he tries to spit in her face but his mouth is too dry - the Nun touches his forehead with the first two fingers of her right hand, says, "For your crimes I pass, as is my right, just sentence."

A crackle; the smell of burnt meat. The boy's head erupts in sudden blinding flame. Barely a second later, the flames are gone and only a blackened, crumbling skull remains. The boy's corpse is still.

It takes moments. The old man tries to stare her down, but she says the words and the flames consume him. The older woman breads down, pleads, begs, and Elixândë continues nonetheless and the woman's face is consumed, and as the priestess swishes away her skull falls from her corpse and shatters on the ground.

Now a woman the same height as Elixândë, the same pale eyes, the same full mouth, the same jawline. "All they did was plead for me, sister," says the woman, before she too is consumed. Her skull crumbles to black dust on the breeze.

No pause. No sign of any emotion on Elixândë's face. The crowd dares not breathe. "Sentence has been passed and the rule of law is resumed," she announces, without turning.

For it is a capital offence to attempt to sway an Akâshic Nun from her duty as Lawkeeper, and not even one's mother, father, nephew or twin are exempt.

Outside of the cities, the Atlantean empires have depended upon the priests of the Akâshic Colleges to retain order for hundreds of thousands of years.

Drawn from the ranks of the Atlantean poor at a young age, the monks and nuns face training so severe that out of any ten, three wind up dead, two end up as soulless husks, two are driven incurably mad and two are maimed so badly that even Atlantean medicine cannot save them.

The surviving one in ten endures through an understanding that absolute obedience to the precepts of the temple is the only way to survive. 

Graduands of the Akâshic Colleges are, by the time they are released, brainwashed into a rigid fanaticism and trained to a high psychic level. They serve as the judges and executioners of the rural communities to which they are assigned as Lawkeepers, often the same from which they were stolen ten years before, and no city judge is as severe.

Legends, stories and songs from an older Atlantis tell of Akâshic Monks and Nuns who were the heroes and defenders of their towns, fighting beasts and sorcerers and bandits. While the Akâshic Colleges encourage these stories, the Lawkeepers inspire different emotions now.

Justice is irrelevant; only the law, and the penalty for disloyalty to the Law of Atlantis is all too often final. In the villages and townships of the empire, the black robes and metal scars of the Akâshic judges are feared, and doubly so because they were once beloved children, sisters, brothers.

Elixândë, in the province of Kudra, is a prime example of the damage the College does to its pupils.

She has sent childhood friends to the fleshvats or the mines for the most petty of violations. Elixândë executed her own twin sister Elishól  for sedition (her crime: visiting her and counselling moderation) and her parents and nephew for pleading for Elishól's life.

The College stole her capability for affection, pity, mercy; only a desire to dominate others, a contempt for the weak. It is against the law to anger one of her station, and she angers all too easily, although the serene outward calm expected of an Akâshic Nun never breaks, even when she is consumed with fury.

Elixândë, Akâshic Nun
Suits: Cups 2, Pentacles 5, Swords 8, Wands 6
Cards: 6
Attributes: Hands 2, People 4, Psychic 6, Will 9

Characters might have Elixândë as a Relationship: she could be their Queen of Swords (a loved one turned enemy), Knight of Swords or even Page of Swords (a loved one who betrayed a trust), but could also be a Knight of Wands (a family member with an awkward relationship), for example.