The Adamant Caste is the apocryphal sixth caste of Alchemical Exalted. Their existence is not commonly knowledge in Autochthonia, as their duty is to police the behavior of the other Champions. They are the only living beings in Autochthonia or Creation that can attune normally with Adamant artifacts and weapons.
Deep in the heart of Autochthonia, lonely spires of adamant reach upward in supplication to the Great Maker. No mortals toil here to support their nation, and none of the five castes familiar to the folk of Autochthonia’s Eight Nations walk the empty streets of impenetrable glass. The only activity belongs to custodian spirits, tirelessly working to support the Great Maker, and the Divine Ministers, who use these cities as palaces and vast industrial tabernacles. But when the need arises, lone nomads—technical savants and holy madmen—come to these cities from the depths of the Far Reaches. Possessed by a drive beyond mortal ken, they work with the subgods of Autochthon to birth an Alchemical of the Adamant Caste.
The Adamant Caste were Chosen to watch their fellows for signs of betrayal and less than adequate zeal in the service of Autochthon. While the Moonsilver and Soulsteel Castes act as inquisitors and investigators for mortal society, the Adamant Caste exists to judge the society entire, as well as the Champions themselves. The Servitors of Autochthon patrol the Far Reaches, battling forces their five cousins know next to nothing about. Within the cities of mankind, Operatives work in mortal guises alongside the Alchemical Exalted, ever watchful for the moment when the corrupt turn away from their appointed duties, and poised to strike a blow that will break their own hearts.
In order to catalyze that lonely broth in a crystal vat, an Operative’s past incarnations must have been individuals of singular vision and devotion to Autochthon. The pious cleric consumed and martyred by his zeal, the furious diplomat who ends an international war by calling attention to the greater need of maintaining the Great Maker, the hermitic conduit miner in the Reaches, the Militate general who defies orders to crusade against the gremlin hordes—such traits of individuality and rejection of patriotism in favor of religious fervor combine within the Adamant soulgem. Devoid of nationalistic sympathies, Adamants can be—and often must be—exceptionally subtle, but their faith is not the weaker for it.
Apocryphal Ones rarely join assemblies, at least in an official capacity. Their Charms tend toward practicality and self-sufficiency, enabling these glass folk to achieve their tasks without aid of a group. When their Clarity is low, however, the desire to be near their cousins becomes nearly overwhelming. Individual Operatives have indeed revealed themselves to mortals and lone Alchemicals, stepping out of the shadows as a mysterious stranger who aids in a pitched battle. In and out of assemblies, Adamants are skilled at swiftly identifying threats and dispatching them with flamboyant displays of strength.
Adamant elders serve as tactical lynchpins in the war efforts of the Divine Ministers. They stamp out small blight zones before they can spread, and they lead automaton armies to reclaim the body of the Machine God from the forces of the Void. Less martially inclined Colossi exercise subtle social control over dozens or hundreds of rogue, forgotten elements of mortal society, acting as regional overseers for tunnel nomad tribes and international expeditions from the Eight Nations. Few Operatives are eager to join the gleaming spires of their vast, empty cities. They have a greater use as free agents, and they seek to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Cities of adamant are beautiful, seemingly sculpted as much as built. Populated primarily by machines, these lonely patropoli serve as vats complexes capable of supporting the entirety of the Adamant Caste population
The Adamant Castes exist as living mythology within their world. Even their brethren among the other castes cannot be sure they are real. By spending five motes, Operatives emit a radiance that persists for the rest of the scene. Any witness during this time must spend a number of Willpower points equal to the Exalt’s Essence rating (maximum 5) as soon as they leave the Operative’s presence to resist an unnatural Illusion effect. Paying this cost allows witnesses to remember the interaction correctly. Otherwise, memories of the encounter distort in whatever Storyteller-approved way the observer’s player selects, provided that the distortion cloaks the identity and caste of the Operative. The effect does not cloak older memories of the Alchemical. Examples include a blackout of actual memory loss, misremembering the Exalt as a god or an Alchemical of another caste or attributing the aftermath of a battle to a natural disaster such as a ruptured Essence conduit. This power comes into effect automatically while displaying an anima at the 11+ level. Operatives are immune to this power, as are Autochthon and his Divine Ministers. Lesser subgods are immune only if their intrinsic function involves interaction with the Adamant Caste.
See Also Edit