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Guardians of the Veil
|Mage House Rules|
|Mage House Rules|
The Adamantine Arrow attracts a large number of young mages — impulsive, confident men and women who believe their Arcana automatically confer martial wisdom. These petitioners are quickly disabused of such notions. An Arrow trains to endure much and live simply. Arrow mentors dangle the secrets of battle magic before their eyes, only to deny teachings until a student has humbled himself with hard work, ascetic discipline or a tortuous quest. Some masters are incredibly harsh, and leave protégés with physical and psychic scars. Some never graduate beyond the petitioning stage, but in most cases mentors are loathe to let one of the Awakened waste her life. The best teachers create warrior-diplomats who can handle etiquette and bloody combat with equal confidence. The worst teachers turn out emotionally stunted guardians whose awkward, taciturn nature might be mistaken for quiet wisdom.
And some candidates don’t need to be tempered. These are the natural tacticians and athletes that Arrow elders seek to train and — importantly — rein in before they can endanger others. The Adamantine Arrow doesn’t give these young mages a choice in the matter. While they learn battle spells easily enough and can fit their mind to a strategy with fluid ease, they need to be taught honor, discretion and a sense of responsibility for the rest of the Awakened. The order mourns when it fails to indoctrinate these initiates. It brings shame to kill them, and their names are not spoken again.
Old mages tend to join the order in response to a crisis, or out of a sense of outrage. The Arrow gives them the tools to avenge themselves or to right a wrong. Ideally, the order only accepts vengeance-seekers who can learn to broaden their perspective and see that all of the Awakened deserve help.
The Adamantine Arrow practices what it calls the Brilliant Road or the Adamant Way. The Atlantean name had no precise translation and meant both “unyielding wisdom” and “light of thunder.” The Adamant Way is divided into five precepts — the Hand. The human hand creates, communicates and destroys. It is always meeting, negotiating with and vanquishing the external world, and is one of the primary gates for the sense of touch. Accordingly, its five “fingers” represent the ideal ways for a warrior to conduct herself in the Fallen World. They are:
- Existence Is War - All beings learn wisdom by first separating themselves from the unity of things, and then by separating the unity of what remains.
- Enlightenment Is Honor - Mages know that everything has an esoteric meaning, so meaning alone cannot be a sign of wisdom. True enlightenment is the ability to create meaning as well as reflect it.
- Adaptability Is Strength - An Arrow should never rely on magic alone, or pure power of any kind.
- The Supernal Is the Self - There’s a reason only humans become mages. A human being is, in essence, no different from the cosmos.
- Service Is Mastery - Over the ages the Adamantine Arrow learned that the obvious ruler is rarely the true master of an occult hierarchy.
A more in depth sample of this Philosophy, as espoused by Avis.
First Phalanx: Existence is War
The Arrow believe first that the universe is defined by conflict, by opposing powers moving against one another. Even the most basic difference between 1 and 0 – something and nothing, being and nonbeing – spells out the battle with the Abyss, one of the central conflicts of the age. Existence without conflict – and thus without striving – is static, stagnant, and does nothing to make one better.
The best state in any conflict is balance. Without opposition, a force will grow and grow until it destroys itself, taking the balance with it. So the Arrow advocate strategy; apply force intelligently. Make sure you understand the conflict before you act, so you can try to reach balance.
Everything is a fight. Think first, but then act, decisively and correctly.
Second Phalanx: Enlightenment is Honor
The Arrow hold that honor is the truest map of the soul. How closely your words and deeds align with what is correct is the measure of your truest self, and the mark of enlightenment.
First, this means that your given word is part of your duty. If you say or do a thing, you take responsibility for the consequences of your action; if you accept that and make sure you understand those consequences, you will act according to your soul.
Second, it means your duty is paramount. Arrows do not fight for glory or power, but for a cause, and that cause can’t be subject to any person’s ambition. Instead, you should be ready to do whatever the cause requires of you, glorious or humble.
Do what you say you’ll do, and get your job done.
=Third Phalanx: Adaptability is Strength
When your battlefield is all of creation, you may need to fight under any circumstances. If you allow yourself to stagnate, to be predictable, you set yourself up to lose… and losing battles on that scale isn’t acceptable. Instead, the Arrow teaches you to stay flexible in your thinking, your fighting, and your magic; to always look for new ways of doing things and push yourself. Thus you can meet and contest any foe, anywhere.
Everyone’s heard that the samurai ‘die every day’. It means they exist in the moment, ready and even eager to sacrifice their lives if need be. The phrase came first from the Arrow, and while it can mean actual death, it really refers to reinventing yourself; every day, discover a new way to be strong.
Be flexible, not predictable. Keep learning.
Fourth Phalanx: The Supernal is the Self
Despite all opinions, the Arrow aren’t only about war. Their philosophy of magic is very focused; they believe that mages are living conduits to the truth. Thus, you should be the best and purest conduit that you can.
The Supernal, they believe, is present in perfected body, open mind, and awakened spirit. You should always work towards the ideal; exercise, meditation, and learning all bring you closer to a better reality. Defiling the self – mind, body, or soul – is anathema to the Adamant Way, as it means defiling the Supernal.
Also, if existence is in conflict, the self is no different. Your body, mind, and spirit are in conflict with one another, and balance is difficult… but when you find equilibrium, then they strive as they should, which brings growth.
You ARE your magic. Never stop working to be better.
Fifth Phalanx: Service is Mastery
This is the hardest Phalanx for many Arrow to understand. The Order believes that when you strive to master something, you become subject to it; that then the thing itself controls you. The idea of mastery is itself limiting; a throne confines the one who sits on it.
The way around that is to serve, but not to serve individuals. Instead, you serve mandates, moral truths. A king can be flawed, corrupt, and weak, but the idea of the peaceful kingdom isn’t. There’s an element of practicality to this; in war, you have to follow orders and act in concert with others. It’s just important to be aware, to be sure you’re following the right mandate, and that your comrades and your commanders are all following the same mandate.
If you’re in a position to lead, you have the hardest job of all; you must lead according to the Adamant Way… which means you must always remember that a leader serves those who follow.
And one last important piece; the Adamantine Arrow don’t wage their war for reward or recognition. Those are the hallmarks of pride and greed, and shouldn’t factor into your choices at all. It’s not for an Arrow to ask for or expect anything in return for doing their duty.
Serve and protect. Don’t get trapped by power or reward.
Rituals and Observances
The Adamantine Arrow values efficiency, so it integrates its rites into the practical aspects of training and exercising the warrior’s art.
- Oaths - An Arrow is rarely without an oath to some person, cabal or ideal.
- Order of Challenges - Even though the Adamantine Arrow’s mages are famous for their dueling skills, they restrict challenges within their own ranks.
- All: Ascended Adept, Awakening Gambit, Bokor, Brotherhood of the Demon Wind, Celestial Masters, Cult of the Doomsday Clock, Daoine, Devourers of the Flesh, Echo Walkers, Fallen Pillar, Fangs of Mara, Forge Masters, House of Ariadne, Illumined Path, Liberatores, Mimirs Voice, Neocologists, Orphans of Proteus, Path of the Book, Perfected Adept, Pygmalian Society, Skald, Sodality of the Tor, Storm Keeper, Tamers of Fire, Tamers of Rivers, Tamers of Stone, Tamers of Winds, Tamers of the Cave, Transhuman Engineers, True Soul, Unforgotten Scions, Whipping Boys
- Banned: Bokor, Celestial Masters, Cult of the Doomsday Clock, Devourers of the Flesh, Echo Walkers, True Soul, Unforgotten Scions