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The Azkeel'im.

History has recorded, many times over, numerous creations endowed with magical powers and possessing living forces of their own. Be it artifacts like Aegis and Excalibur, or such fantastical beings as the Manticore, Gargoyle or the Chimera, creatures that, once conceived, were given the breath of life. Look to the children of Azkeel for, more than not, these creations are of their making.

Throughout history, these reclusive and introverted immortals have created great works of living art and mystically endowed relics. Some made for heroes of yore, others were terrifying creatures they unleashed onto the world, This is the Estate of the children of Azkeel, those spoken of as the ‘grand artificers’.

Perhaps their one greatest achievement is an artifact that predates the great flood itself: the Bronze Rose. Its legend has remained vibrant throughout the ages, and it is said that it will reappear in the last days before the great judgment. It was the greatest of the Azkeel children who created it centuries before the wars that corrupted and usurped the law of all things, in a time when the intentions of the 200 hosts were still true. It contains the knowledge and a part of the very life force of the hosts themselves. Each petal represents one of the hosts, each contains a part of them.

When that Estate is lost, or dies off, the petal suffers, wilts and shrivels up, mimicking the life force of its host’s children. The exact location of the Bronze Rose is unknown to all but the eldest of artificers, who are far too paranoid to let it be known to any but a select few. Even those who know of its location are doubtful if the information is true or a cleverly concocted story. As for those who had created it, they are now extinct; a lineage Root that died in the great flood after having passed sacred texts and the secret of the rose to their brethren.

This group is not the only Root faction the artificers have seen. Soon after the flood, a small group of them joined with a distant family, believed to be some of Noah’s descendants. This did not bode well, as a lack of breeding stock and a century-long struggle with the Hand led to their disappearance and speculated total extinction. They were said to have been twisted in appearance, and delved in necromantic pursuits in hopes of reviving that which was once dead. Some were even said to experiment on each other, attaching and transplanting various mortal and immortal vestiges from deceased family members. They hoped to keep that which was best in those who had passed on in a bid to achieve purity.

Not quite a Root unto themselves, but certainly a powerful organization or ‘familia’ within the Estate is the sect or council of the ‘Ardonshoshanah’. Little is known of this movement other than they have been connected to deeply secret ritualism, magics and strange Goety, but of course all this may be just delusions. No one is certain who they are, how wide their power spreads, to what extent they may have infiltrated the Estate and last but certainly not least, what is their agenda.

One thing is sure, the Estate in general fear them greatly even if they cannot agree on why. The artificers are consummate creators of automaton and classical artifacts, seemingly driven by a terrible loneliness that haunts them. They are said to seek to touch the face of creation itself in their arts, in a bid to understand the reason of their being. Some say that their creations are blasphemous, an affront to the laws of creation, but the children of Azkeel defend their craft ardently and say that there is a trace of the true God in all they do. How else could they breathe life into that which is lifeless?

The artificers have maintained an internal structure comprised of many small organizations and councils who answer to higher councils, who in turn answer to other councils. From within these circles are found secretive sects and organizations in themselves with agendas that vary from assigned, to personal goals. This in itself only increases the sense of paranoia that envelops the children of Azkeel.

Interaction with the mortals of the lineage of Azkeel is usually kept to a strict minimum. Relationships are short, austere and often cold. It becomes more of an impassioned meeting of the minds and intellectual sharing than an actual relationship or marriage. Mortal families are never told of the nature of their immortal brethren, few are those who are told of the “great secret”, and such individuals must not only be of exceptional intellect, but extremely trustworthy as well.

The artificers are not warriors. They are commonly of thin build and ill-suited for long physical activities. Many seem skinny and frail and prefer to wage wars through their creations. However, they are not to be underestimated when roused to action, for they can be relentless foes. They always wear gloves unless building something and resent any physical contact with anyone save their own, and even this is kept to a strict minimum. This last characteristic is a sign of their discomfort and paranoia over physical contact, this is mentioned in further detail in their Estate minor Goety.

By far the most seclusive of the Estates, the children of Azkeel often live as hermits and seldom involve themselves in community activities, unless involved in a coven of their own. The children of Azkeel prize their secrets, and rely greatly on privacy to avoid arising attention to their activities, after all, the creation of golem and automatons is hardly a commonplace occurrence. Their homes and estates are usually filled with odd trinkets, and creatures of both a fantastic and odd nature. One would easily find a peach tree that bears cherries, or a talking dog or flying cat. Taking this into consideration, one can imagine their need for a low profile.

Artificers generally begin with 4 points of Redemption, and 5 points of Sin. This is to reflect that although they have an ardent belief that they are on the right path to learning some great secret of yore, they are nonetheless outwardly and inwardly persecuted for their efforts that may or may not be subverting the true word of the First Covenant. Yet they are obviously willing to do almost anything in order to reach their goal of perfection, as misguided as that may appear to others.

The Tutelage:

This period of “tutelage” for the children of Azkeel will initially require that they spend no less than two years with their first warder, during which time they are expected to gain the respect and trust of their fellow peers. It is at the end of this first tutelage that they undergo the Rite of Rebirth. The second part of their tutelage will take numerous years of apprenticeship with a master artificer and warder. It is during this time they are expected to perfect their craft and greater Goety, honing their skills and learning the arts they will need in the future.

The culmination of this second part is the completion of their first creation, which is to be presented to the elders for approval and evaluation. Should they fail in this task, they are to return to their apprenticeship and continue their studies. Success will lead to their full acceptance into the immortal folds of the Estate.

The Goety of Azkeel:

Azkeel was said to be able to mold creatures and artifacts from water, clay and stone. Some legends even say that he could create objects from a wisp of smoke. This is the Goety of Azkeel, the gift of creating life. His children have the power to create “living” things and artifacts, such as automatons, servants, pets, plants, and even other supernatural beings. Although such said creations require great amounts of time and patience, they can easily be almost anything. Some range from simple intelligent life forms, to as complex as a human being. As an alternative, the artificers can use their Goety to breathe life into and animate existing items. However, this second aspect of their Goety is taxing, requiring twice as much energies, and always creates something twisted and short lived. Most elders see this as an easy way out, a method used by amateurs and beginning immortals.

The children of Azkeel are so attuned to the ebbs and flows of the life forces around them that they have developed as minor Goety the ability to sense its source and true nature. By tactile examination and contact with a subject, they can sense and conclude if an object or being is mortal or immortal, natural or unnatural, of this world, or not. To this end they receive a +1 bonus to their difficulty marker per dot in their minor Virtue. With this ability, they may not necessarily be able to sense neither purpose or intent of the subject in question, but they can certainly glean if it is natural, or was fabricated by unnatural means, like a fae sword compared to a normal one.

Azkeel’s Curse:

The children of Azkeel are well known to fringe on the paranoid and schizophrenic when it comes to any physical contact, but this is with good reason. They are cursed to feel the emotions of all those whom they come into direct contact with, worse yet is that these emotions linger with them, remaining on their minds like a stain on their hands. To rid themselves of this, they must either wait for a period of one day per point of the subject’s Will to elapse, or subject themselves to touching another target.

During this period of time, they suffer a penalty to their difficulty marker equal to their age modifier on all rolls as their minds are subjected to emotions that are neither theirs, nor welcomed. Furthermore, every time a creation is destroyed, its creator(s) must roll an unmodified Fortitude roll (Fortitude of Ages cannot be applied to this), utilizing the difficulty marker required in the act of creating the item,  modified by their age penalty modifier. Should they fail the roll, they will become deeply depressed over its loss for a period of time equal to its creation.

Should they botch a roll, they will lose one permanent Fortitude point and gain a temporary madness. In any case, the death of any creation will greatly sadden the artificer, as if they had lost a part of themselves.

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