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Astarte (CTD)

Art by Steve Prescott

Astarte, the Autumn Queen, is an Unseelie Sidhe Wilder Lost One formerly of House Fiona and a member of the Infernal Trinity of the Midnight Circus.

Overview Edit

Astarte is the oldest, if not the most powerful, of the Infernal Trinity. Although no one knows her true age, her history with the Circus dates back to its bloody encounter with the knights of Emperor Charlemagne during the late 8th century. During this period, the carnival's infamy was widespread, and the Church ordered its destruction. Holy knights, led by Sir Roland and aided by holy magics, descended on the carnival. Astarte was a princess of the Fair Folk in those lands and knowledgeable of the doings of the emperor's court. The emperor was no friend of the fae, and so Astarte rescued the carnival by leading it through a secret trod. As a reward, the carnival made her its guide through the many netherworlds it traveled, luring her with promises of knowledge and adventure. The young princess did not realize the carnival's true nature until it was too late.

During the long years of the Interregnum, when most sidhe fled the Earth, Astarte was one of the few nobles left. Arcadia is one of the rare places where the carnival cannot go, and she hungers for it like a lost dream. Her desire is ravenous, and the carnival fulfills these dreams, at a price. Astarte is a disciple of the demon Apophis and derives powers directly from it. She believes in entropy as a natural, cleansing force, necessary for the world's rebirth. Her servitude to Apophis reinforces these beliefs. Astarte dispassionately believes that her good ends justify any means. Unlike many in the circus, she does not revel in the pain of others. She kills only when "necessary," and is careful not to cause undue suffering.

Appearance Edit

Of old she was known as Astarte the Beautiful, and named in her youth Autumn Queen and the Maid of Petals. The golden rays of the sun played down her hair like a waterfall... The bards of the sidhe composed twenty and seven songs honoring her beauty; twenty and seven hands she refused in union...

Astarte's beauty is typical fae-ethereal with an air of otherworldliness. A rare beauty by even sidhe standards, she has sculpted features, with tapered eyes and ears even in her mortal seeming. Her auburn hair glows like late-afternoon sunlight, and her clear eyes are a pale glassy green. Her fae mien has a beautiful and terrible majesty to it. Her eyes and robes ripple with a lambent green flame of balefire, punctuated by sparks of gold. When angered, her eyes flash black with the Void.

Personality Edit

Thou art Astarte, mistress of gates and keeper of the void. Thou ridest the Apophis Worm, and entropy is strong within thee, but thou art pure, holy one. For thine is not the way of power, or desire, or corruption. All these things are but tools, for thou art the Winter that proceeds from Autumn. Let those who wish to see another Spring proceed only through thee.

Special Edit

Astarte possess a Demonic Investment called Gateway. With it, she may move the carnival through all the inner and some of the farther planes of existence. This power also apples to her personally, and she may enter most planes without taking the circus with her. She must still enter many realms by way of established portals, however. There is a vigorous etiquette to entering many planes. The carnival may not reach Arcadia through this Investment.

Treasures Edit

  • Mirror of Dreams: A full-length mirror in a heavy gold dragon-shaped frame, the Mirror of Dreams allows Astarte to view any object within the physical confines of the circus, even is they are in another realm such as the Umbra or Near Dreaming. Any of the Infernal Trinity may use the mirror for this purpose. The mirror is also the focus through which she casts her Wayfare cantrips when moving the carnival from realm to realm. The carnival may still do this without the mirror, but it requires some of Astarte's Glamour to do so. Lastly, the mirror reveals the true nature of anyone reflected in it. Astarte uses this to study potential opponents.
  • Sliver of the Hunger Stone: Astarte owns a small sliver of the black gem known as the Hunger Stone. She keeps the fragment in a golden ring on her finger. Those who examine it closely discover that it is a small piece of the Void. This fragment gives its owner prolonged life, but at a price. The owner gains an affinity with the Void, becoming, over time (about a century), a living part of the Void. Astarte's ownership of the fragment explains both her rapport with Apophis and the circus's seeming inability to grind her into Oblivion. The stone also confers an immunity to entropy-based attacks (e.g., aging attacks).
  • Spriggan's Jar: This artifact is a powerful faerie treasure containing a small fragment of Arcadia's essence. To most, the jar merely looks as if it contains colored sand, yet changelings may see something else. Any changeling who makes a Perception + Kenning roll (difficulty 7, two successes needed) sees the sand shift, forming itself into a dazzling, miniature vista of a woodland glade. The changeling must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 9) or be sucked into the tableau. A faerie "captured" in this manner believes they are back in Arcadia and never wishes to leave. Only Astarte may free a changeling ensnared by the jar. (Breaking the Jar scatters the sand and the jar's inhabitants to the furthest corners of the Deep Dreaming.) Sand from the jar instantly enchants those mortals it touches. Those enchanted in this manner may be affected by all changeling Arts, even if their Banality is high. Astarte only allows fae she esteems into the Spriggan's Jar. It is her most prized possession.

References Edit

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