Many say that there is arguably no honor amongst rogues, but the ‘Akibeelim’ say otherwise. Since the great flood, the children of Akibeel have rebelliously turned their backs on their patron angel, the covenant, their former allies and the other Estates. A great part of them are unscrupulous characters, individuals of questionable note that sell their unique abilities to the highest offer, even going so far as to fight one another if the price is right. Or so it is said.
In the centuries after the flood, the ‘Akibeelim’ transformed the purpose of their Goety into something other than what it was. They are the only surviving Estate known to have successfully done so on a mass scale. If there was a dirty job to do, something underhanded and questionable, they could be yours, for a price. They were and some still are mercenaries without peer, spending day and night perfecting their fighting skills, tactics and Goety. Hiring themselves out to anyone who could afford it, woe should any be foolish enough to withhold their due, they take it in other forms. It was not always so.
In the antediluvian days, The ‘Akibeelim’ were a holy order of guardian priests, devoted to the protection of sacred temples and their worshippers. They were unequalled and without fault in their task. It was at such great places as the temples in the cities of Ashteroth and Karnain, east of what is now Jordan, where their doors were open to all faiths and beliefs, two great centers founded as cultural places of refuge, learning and worship, until the Great Flood.
First came the warning rains, and then they learned that the heavenly angels were coming to enchain the hosts of all the Estates. They sought to protect their father, Akibeel, by hiding him in one of the two great temples they had protected over the centuries. All would have perhaps worked out, until the mortals who they had served all this time turned against them and told the Angels where Akibeel was. He was dragged away with all the other hosts. Not faith, nor unwavering servitude had served them in the face of their very wards. The ‘Akibeelim’ were enraged, and the betrayal did not wash over as well as the land and temples did under the torrential rains.
When the waters rose, the very people who had betrayed them cried out to be saved. Their pleas fell on deaf ears this time, and the children of Akibeel chose to protect their own. The great flood washed away all they had devoted themselves to, their temples, relics and followers, as well as their beliefs. They abandoned their ways, leaving behind the covenant of Akibeel, and together the Estate chose another path.
For centuries, their skills have been sought after by kings, queens, lords and rich merchants. Their unique Goety no longer used to protect the faithful; the wealthy and the powerful were much more accommodating, and many ‘Akibeelim’ fell into the trappings of greed and wealth. But always, there was a calling, a longing for something lost, something that could not be forgotten, only denied.
The most prominent ‘familia’ of the ‘Akibeelim’ dates back to the time after the flood. They are the Rephaim, warriors of a tribal organization who fought constantly. It is uncertain if any of those original Rephaim remain, but all who still follow the ways of the nomadic mercenaries are believed to be part of this order in some fashion or another.
The Estate has re-organized itself much in the manner of a religious order, with lower cast priests and pastors answering to a bishop, who answers to an archbishop, till finally the eldest papal figure leads and inspires them. They will often situate their power bases at religious buildings and churches, with most if not all local members involved in churchly duties, on a part-time basis. Do not be fooled however, many live paradoxical lives: custodians by day, and fierce guardians by night.
There is a strong feeling of attachment to duty and loyalty amongst the ‘Akibeelim’ and there is no better reflection of this than in their relations with their mortal families. Many of Akibeel’s children have willingly faced death, and succumbed to it, in order to defend family and friends. Many keep close ties with mortals, some of which are well aware of the true nature of their immortal cousins.
‘Akibeelim’ generally have rugged builds and faces, with brooding and contemplative demeanors. Their strong religious attachments are denoted in their tradition of carrying ornaments or markings of their faith on their person. As a matter of fact, even the ‘exoristos’ of this Estate are devout, and carry some reminder of their former faith, regardless of whatever ethos and belief that may be.
‘Akibeelim’ can be honorable, if the cause is right. But often enough they will resort to scheming and underhanded techniques to achieve their goals and power. They despise being duped or taken for fools, and have been know to become very vindictive in their reprisals. They have no qualms in using any means at their disposal to achieve a goal they have devoted themselves to, however, it must not come into conflict with either their covenant, or any other sworn duties they have undertaken.
Initiates are expected to be well-versed in proper etiquette and religious understanding. They are also well-trained in martial skills of all types. Common persona include criminals, religious devotees and soldiers. Unfortunately there is still a division within the Estate, where some believe that the path to redemption can only be achieved through pious and holy observations, while others believe that their history has brought them to this point in order to make them holy guardians, not men of the cloth. Then there is also the faction of their mercenary Rephaim who are now claiming to be a Root of their own. These “misguided children” have no structure past that of a military force and have little to offer in the way of Tutelage other than the harsh survival skills of war.
‘Akibeelim’ begin the game with 6 points of Redemption and 3 points of Sin, representing their ardent belief in their calling, be it religious devotion or guardianship. Their Rephaim brethren however only begin with 2 points of Redemption, and 7 points of Sin, representing their loss of faith in themselves, their purpose and their God.
It is true that many ‘Akibeelim’ are underhanded, none will deny this. But there is a certain charm to their overall demeanor allowing them a certain debonair allure. They remain devoted friends and allies however, and don’t mind getting their hands dirty in times of need, knowing that a favor is something best repaid when it’s truly required.
Young ‘Akibeelim’ are expected to perform an apprenticeship under their assigned warders, for no less than a period of two years. The first eight months are spent learning all there is to know of their past, of their other brethren Estates, and proper survival etiquette in a world of immortals. The next eight months are then spent in the service of a local religious institution and under the careful scrutiny of their warder and the local elders. During this second period of tutoring, they are taught to use their Goety and hone their combat skills.
The last eight months of the tutelage are the most difficult where their mettle is tested in a bid for survival, alone, in a hostile world. They are sent on a holy quest, most often to retrieve some relic of little repute or protect a temple from desecration. There may well be a chance that the pupil succumbs to enemy forces, and only the strongest will not buckle under the task at hand. Those who do, never move very far up the echelons of the inner order. Those who perform the latter part of their Tutelage with distinction are often rewarded with the gift of a ceremonial weapon and armor after their rebirth, a badge of their status and achievements.
The Goety of Akibeel:
Akibeel was said to read his people like the words of a book; none could deceive him or hide their intentions. His children are so too blessed, and over the centuries have used it to their best advantage in battle. The Goety of Akibeel is the only lineage Goety to have been known to undergo some change of purpose. Before the flood, their power was used to discern the purity of those worshippers and followers of Akibeel. Thereafter, it was used to discern the fore-intents of their enemies. It is even said whereas their Goety is now used to harm, it was once used to heal.
At an apprentice’s level, the Goety allows them to sense the general emotional state of the individual being observed. At greater levels of competence, they can use their sensorial ability beyond that of their five senses, and reach into a sixth sense of premonition. Some say that elder ‘Akibeelim’ are able to sense the intentions of their enemies across oceans and continents.
The ‘Akibeelim’ have so developed their senses, that they are continuously aware of their surroundings by force of practice. When intentionally attempting to discern the intentions of others, they receive a +1 bonus on all difficulty markers per dot of Minor Virtue on their rolls.
The children of Akibeel may wish to deny their inheritance, their purpose of being, but their blood lineage will not be silent. They are holy guardians and that is an integral part of their being. As all people, mortal and immortal alike, they require a purpose and sense of being. So deep is this sense of purpose and desire that it permeates their subconscious and even their dreams.
‘Akibeelim’ who are not involved in some sort of guardianship feel a deep sense of emptiness, allowing the darkness to creep closer to the surface. This is reflected as an age difficulty penalty to all rolls when they are not devoted to a cause. This affects both the traditional and the Rephaim members of the Estate. One would believe that this curse would cripple their Rephaim brethren, when in reality, their hired services offer them all the opportunity for guardianship they need, and it is actually their recanted brethren that are left struggling with the Estate curse.