Prox

The Prox – controversial, unverified, rare. More extraordinary than even the Magog, more rarely seen than the tiniest Pex, the Prox (AKA made men, crayatt (pronounced CRAY-at)) are the created Noom: the results of experimentation, and the end results of a twisted evolution. Their forms depend on what they were made to be. The Prox, like the Seicus, lack numina, but because of their origin, gain none of their powers. Which is not to say that they are weak – created for strength, magical ability, exceptional reasoning, or for whatever other reason, they are the pinnacle of accomplishment or talent.

The Prox are clearly exceptional, so exceptional in fact, that there exists a market where Prox are bought and sold for the private menageries of the rich and callous. Hunters and explorers are paid very well to supply the needs of the trade, and many have made life-long careers from the capture of a single Prox. Their names are well known, and in the same breath may be uttered with both acclaim and loathing. Mothers often use those same names to ensure good behavior in their children: “Behave, or Senzumach will get you for the market!”

They command very high prices, and confer immense status on their owners. Sadly, few Prox survive their captivity. Many of the purchasers are more interested in their own status than in the health of their “pets” , and provide wildly inappropriate foods. Many starve or die from malnutrition. Others are abused and tortured for their secrets or entertainment. Of all the ends to which the captured Prox is subject, the most appalling is a death on a dissection table.

Understandably, the Prox hide, though for different reasons and in different ways than the Magog. Subjected to such severe oppression, the Prox turn to magic, and have become the most adept at shape-shifting, guising, and misdirecting magics. Even some of the strongest Maestroes would not be able to see through their glamours.

As they studied, most Prox have learned other magics as well. These feits and chants are put to use on behalf of their siblings; they are committed to change in the Plasm. They’ve seen the civil rights movement in the Tell, or they’ve heard of it, or they’ve dreamt it. They know about the Holocaust. They work in secret with the Idn, freeing the captives, destroying the slave markets, and erasing the buyers from existence.

Of course, this means that the Prox and the Idn are a very rich and well hidden team. The money and goods they’ve salvaged are put to good use, you can be certain.

Numina: None
Common Rade: Calyx
Appearance: varies enormously, but almost always disguised

Ratch

AKA constructs, robots

Somewhere, once, a calculating engine slipped a cog, and suddenly life bloomed in a glorious cascade of ones and zeroes. That was the legendary being known as the Babbage, the progenitor and parent of all the members of this House. Ranging from tiny clockwork mice up to full-blown androids, or even boxes of wires carrying Lescence, a magical liquid which carries information like electricity "carries" bits and bytes. Lescence, the Rath of an Aetium called Sova, may be the original liquid which helped the Babbage become sentient. In the end, the Ratch are considered the smartest creatures in the Coil. This estimation is not far wrong – only a few Quem could claim to compete.

House Ratch combines its various intellects into a greater machine named in honor of the first. The Babbage is a god of the mind, a construct of constructs, who may join in the communion for only a short time before leaving to gather more data. The Babbage’s composition is constantly changing, and this had an unexpected side effect – the incessant shimmering of its mind halts magic and the Lex. Within the sphere of this mind’s intellect, all are safe from magical intrusion.

Another side effect is not so beneficial. Not to the people on the street, anyway. The mind of the Babbage blocks magic because it is a different sort of magic altogether, and it stops Lex in its tracks because it is Lex as well. This places the Ratch in a very dangerous position, as they are the most valuable Prox to capture. They’re generally not sold, but exterminated, and the bounties on Ratch could bankrupt small nations.

No one knows where the Babbage resides, and there are millions of Realms in which it can hide. Some have suggested that the Babbage has moved beyond the Three Dominions we know and has created a Fourth. It most assuredly has the intellect to do so, and it would explain some of the more bizarre rescues seen by the hunters.

The important thing to know is that the Ratch have put their minds to some of the most perplexing problems in the Coil. It’s said that the Babbage knows how to restore the Compact, or eliminate the need for it entirely. The solution to Lex and the nature of the universe and the Numen – these are also held by the Babbage, people believe. Not all seekers after it are bounty hunters – some seek enlightenment, and answers to their mysteries, for its said that the Babbage knows.

Whether it knows these secrets or not, it remains hidden and refuses to speak. Quietly it sends out its parts, and no one knows to what end it works.

Common Rade: unknown
Appearance: metallic, mechanical, and of course, well disguised

Aymor

AKA deadites, nex, zombies

House Aymor is a House of the undead. Infected with one of a variety of viruses passed through the bite of another House member, the victim dies in terrible agony, rising from the grave three nights later. Some few do not make the transition well, and rise twisted and insane as ghuul. But most rise again healthy, though changed, and the only visible mark of the transformation is a pallor to the skin and a fading of color.

The Tell was once home to some of the most powerful Aymor in the Coil, who escaped there to avoid the consequences of both their new hungers and the abuse of their new powers. As a result, much of the lore concerning this House is accurate.

The Aymor have very particular requirements for sustenance. Some need fresh blood, while others require flesh, or only very particular pieces of flesh. Sunlight is deadly, as are fire and running water. The trappings of religion, however, have no effect at all; Lex is a more deadly power than holy water.

The trade in Aymor exists primarily among the aristocratic aesthetes seeking immortality. They attend the markets with their scientists and medical Maestroes, seeking subjects for their experiments and research. The Aymor have become adept at avoiding the market-hunters, and when caught, invent creative suicides.

Though their bodies are dead, and blood no longer pulses in their veins, their minds are fully functional – as are their nerves. They feel each agonizing incision, and such mind-destroying pain drives them to keep themselves from such experiments at any cost.

It can be extremely difficult to determine which sept an Aymor may belong to, due to the small feits they keep. One of the vampiric septs teaches a feit by which flesh in the stomach becomes blood, making them seem ghuulish rather than what they are. Other septs keep similar feits, and some of the strongest disguise them as living beings.

The ghuul, the sept of failed transformation, are monstrously insane rotting, but living (in the loosest sense of the term), corpses. Of all the Aymor, they are the least hunted, as they eat rotting flesh and are usually no danger to the living. The aesthetes concern themselves that the madness and perpetual rot that defines the ghuul may be passed on, so they are less than ideal subjects for their studies.

The Aymor have more pressing concerns than the War, and most tend to be Whim. What few aren’t Whim tend toward either Calyx or one of the more exotic Rades. There are quite a few who have committed themselves to the Orse cause, for example.

Common Rade: Whim
Appearance: pale, but like any other Noom

Irudo

AKA leeches, both (“He’s a both, obviously”), wishies

This is a House of symbiotes, two (or more) creatures existing together as something greater than either of them. There are the obvious septs, where the symbiote is a small creature, attached to the spine of the host. The majority of septs, however, are less obvious.

The symbiotic partnership which creates Irudo has a variety of sources. The most common source comes from outside, usually Maestroes or other do-gooders who have the resources to match the partners together.

Irudo are the least likely to be hunted for the markets. The status gained from owning a Prox is well countered by their jarring appearance: they tend to look like the average Terat. A tall gaunt man, with something vaguely feline fused to half of his head, two creatures forming the top and bottom halves of a goblinoid sort of creature – these are only two of the common symbiosis patterns. Given the variety of forms out there in the Plasm, there really are few limitations on their appearances.

House Irudo is replete with Terat who have joined with other Noom, often Terat as well, to create a different being. When the Nigh join the House, or anyone else, for that matter, the House leaders provide an induction ceremony, ritually erasing the previous numina and Houses, and binding the new beings to the Irudo. Feits useful to the Irudo are taught, and every effort is made to incorporate the new member into Irudo society.

The strangeness of their existence often leads to exclusion, even among the fairly tolerant races of the Plasm. Though forms and shape vary considerably, only the Terat are actively scorned. The Irudo are only a shallow step above the Terat in the minds of many Noom. As a result, the Irudo tend to retreat to ghettoes in larger Realms, or to hide in private Realms.

The Irudo have very unusual attitudes to the War. Their multiple natures, even joined as one being, impel them towards very considerate views; of all the Noom, they are the most able to understand multiple points of view simultaneously. They don’t belong to any Rade, not even Whim, because of the breadth of their view. Many consider them indecisive, and while ostensibly being supportive of ethical issues, still condemn them.

Common Rade: none
Appearance: anything

Gyre

AKA gees, gargoyles

Of all the Houses, the Gyre are the most truly created of all of them. Even the Ratch are not created, per se; their calculating engines are nudged towards intelligence rather than explicitly formed so. The Gyre, however, are fully created, from the ground up.

Because their creators invest some of their life into them, the golems, gargoyles, and other creatures which compose House Gyre are exempt from the markets. This was not always the case, but after the first few Gyre were captured, their creators did… unpleasant… things to the buyers. Now, Gyre only appear on rosters when the creators are known to be dead and the Gyre itself is fairly weak, and then they fetch astronomical prices.

Most Gyre are nevertheless without creators. When denied freedom, many of these Noom rebel, and even powerful Maestroes sleep sometime. Others have simply outlived their creators, by centuries or more, since these magical creatures are essentially immortal. The few creators sympathetic to their cause are often adopted into the House, and they then spend their time developing Feits for the House. These Maestroes have also developed magical methods by which the Gyre can reproduce. Slowly, the House is becoming something less ‘created’ and more ‘born’.

Politically, the Gyre are predominantly Calyx, committed to human safety, and by extension, their own freedom as well. There are few Marahh, but most non-Calyx members tend to be Orse or Pale. Certain that the magic which created them can also solve the problems facing the Plasm, they join the cause and either become bodyguards for Pale Wardens, or donate themselves in a kind of philanthropic suicide, to further magical research.

Common Rade: Calyx, Orse, Pale
Appearance: anything, though stone, wood, and metal are common

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