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Outcastes are Terrestrial Exalted who are born outside the Scarlet Dynasty.

Overview

During the First Age and the Shogunate, Dragon-Blooded were found everywhere in Creation, so the notion of "outcastes" would have made no sense. However, once the Scarlet Empress rose to power, she invited all the Dragon's Chosen to the Blessed Isle to become part of the Realm. Many went, either to escape the post-Great Contagion ruins of the Threshold or because they knew Dragon-Blooded worked more effectively in groups. Propaganda also played an important role — what Prince of the Earth wouldn't want to reside in their natural home at the center of Creation and enjoy the power and luxury that they were entitled to?

When it became clear that some Terrestrials would never join the Realm, the Empress made it clear that these holdouts were sad, lost creatures, or possibly corrupted traitors to their blood. By the second century, the term "outcaste" has made it into popular usage to label these individuals with just right mix of pity and contempt.

An unexpected Terrestrial Exaltation within the Realm is a "lost egg," and usually adopted by one of the Great Houses (if young enough), or funneled into the Legions or the Immaculate Order. Only those Terrestrials who remain outside the Realm's authority are considered outcastes.[1]

Outcaste Communities

In theory, the blood of the Dragons has spread so widely that anyone could one day take the Second Breath.[2] However, there are a few places in the Threshold known for their significant populations of outcastes.

  • Lookshy, the base of the Shogunate-era Seventh Legion, was founded by Dragon-Blooded soldiers and takes pains to ensure as many of its citizens Exalt as possible. They preserve the gentes system of the Shogunate era.[3]
  • Several cadet houses of the Scarlet Dynasty straddle the line between Dynasts and Outcastes. House Ferem of Cherak is one example.[4]
  • Prasad's Terrestrial rulers are nominally part of the Scarlet Dynasty, but they long age diverged from their cousins, and its status as a satrapy is now more theoretical than anything.[5]
  • The Forest Witches reside in the far East, amidst many mysterious forces that they only partly understand.[6]

Additionally, Terrestrial Exalted tend to gather wherever they find themselves, resulting in smaller cults, tribes or families with an especially high concentration of dragon's blood.

  • The Marmorean Circle, a cult of the forbidden god Eshemanti, are obsessed with reclaiming secrets that should rightfully be his.[7]
  • The Grass Spiders are an order of assassins based near Chaya.[8]
  • The Wanasaan family of the Silent Isle specialize in dealing with ghosts and the dead.[9]
  • The Sisterhood of Pearls is a splinter cult founded by two Immaculate missionaries on the Isle of Fevers.[10]
  • The Temple of the Reverent Whisper in Great Forks hires outcastes to perform worship on demand for miscellaneous gods.[11]
  • The Seven Storms Brotherhood are a band of Exalted outlaws who terrorize Lake Makrata.[12]

Outcastes Alone

Exaltation outside an established enclave of Dragon-Blooded is a mixed blessing for outcastes. The moment they take the Second Breath often features a burst of elemental energy, which manifests according to their Aspect — a gout of flame or a burst of swirling wind, for example. This can cause considerable property damage and, in the worst cases, injury or even death to the new Exalt's loved ones.[13]

They now find themselves a big fish in a small pond, without much support. If they're not recruited or adopted by the Realm or another outcaste group, they have to figure out their powers through instinct and experimentation.[14] Their families may be proud and awed, especially in areas touched by the Immaculate Philosophy, but authority figures and beings of power may see them as either a tool to be manipulated or a threat to be destroyed. The life they had been preparing for, whether it was farmer or business or learning a trade, likely won't be satisfying to someone whose blood thrums with elemental power. On top of it all, they now have a lifespan measured in centuries rather than decades, and face the prospect of watching their mortal loved ones age and die while they remain youthful.[15]

As a result, many lone outcastes are iterant, roaming from place to place to look for mentors or a way to use their gifts. A few become petty tyrants, forming a cult or army and seizing power where they can grab it. Dragon-Blooded tend to be eager to join forces with one another, though — they have the instincts of soldiers, and soldiers fight in a unit. Even those who stay settled in one place tend to draw other outcastes into their orbit.[16][15]

References

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