Name: The Carnival Melancholy
Nicknames: Charlatans
Path: Acanthus
Order: Silver Ladder (left-handed)
Arcana: Death

The Carnival Melancholy, also known as Charlatans, is a left-handed Reaper Legacy that deals with bartering souls for luck.


The Charlatans of the Carnival Melancholy trace their origins back to the Great Depression -- particularly to the droves of migrants wandering throughout the vast desolation of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. At that time, across the American Midwest, Consilia, like Sleeper populations, trickled away and disappeared utterly as arable land withered and the dust storms closed in to devour the remains. During these days, a wandering Acanthus of the Silver Ladder named Lucius Nero traveled through the Midwest, fiddling while the world around him choked in despair and tricking people with a few hours of laughter and joy. The truth of the matter is that Lucius Nero delved into many dark magics during his long circuits through the Dust Bowl, searching in vain for some way to rise above all the dying he saw and so desperately feared. Eventually he learned to steal the miraculous light that burns within every person and used those plundered souls as means to finally achieve immortality. Nero never found what he was looking for, but he did manage to transform himself into something else, something more than merely Awakened - something blasphemous.

Nowadays, the Awakened of the Carnival Melancholy remain faithful to their roots as clowns and comedians, mummers, and mountebanks. An infection within the Silver Ladder, these willworkers are possessed of all the skills of showmanship necessary not only to enact the old rites of the order, but also to make them compelling and even entertaining. Following their own skewed view of the Elemental Precepts, the Charlatans see the Awakened as one nation in exile doing whatever is necessary to survive and prosper, while they themselves seize the Imperium Mysteriorum and ascend the Silver Ladder upon the backs of the Sleepers, dragging along their disincarnate souls as they walk the path toward the everlasting Supernal. Socially cunning and too damned charming for anyone's good, Charlatans often manage to ingratiate themselves into some comfortable corner of local Awakened society, whether as long-term residents of the Consilium or just as transients bartering for a few nights in a comfortable bed and at a well-stocked dinner table.