There was once an Infernal who, full of bitterness, spite and avarice, made the Ebon Dragon smile often. He didn't think on the implications of these actions on his own, but was shown the error of his ways by a kind mentor who took him in despite his many faults of personality and the tainted essence that moved through his chakras. Over time he came to understand the fear that filled his heart, the terror that locked him in a cycle of avarice and self-abuse he hadn't realized was there. He was afraid of almost anything and he found that scarier than the things that scared him. He was young and small and too powerful, all things that rendered him in horror, and so he worked hard to over come these weaknesses of spirit. In doing so he became a Devil-Tiger and focused himself to taking his own former weaknesses and making them into weapons.
Exalted of the Flickering Caste embody darkness but not deception, retribution but not ego, terror but not cruelty. They are the scary stories mothers tell their children to make them behave, they are the eldritch creatures that hem in humanity from anything worse than they are. They hunt out the avaricious and wicked and take away what isn't rightfully theirs and beat down those who believe they are superior by birthright and not by deed and merit. They are not afraid to kill to get their point across, but prefer not to if fear and coercion can do the job instead. They do whatever is necessary to protect what is important to them and to tear down whatever they perceive as destructive.
Flickering Caste Infernals are in turns quiet and subtle and sudden and terrifying, They know Creation's disturbing secrets and what they don't know they will soon uncover to show you. Their caste abilities are Investigation, Occult, Presence, Thrown and Stealth.
Flickering Caste infernals possess anima banners that are singularly dark and terrifying, using an interplay of piercing light and deep shadow to form creatures or scenes of abject horror. The darkness both whispers with terrible voices and howls with the soft rush of wind, lashing around the infernal like black fire or torn and rippling cloth.
For 5 motes the Flickering Prince's anima can be made to flare into terrible prominence, shrouding their body in smoky plumes of shadow that ripple and shift to suggest the shapes of terrible things. It perfectly obscures the infernal's true identity for the remainder of a scene, prompting perfect perception effects to roll against a difficulty of the exalt's (essence). In addition, this dark anonymity makes it that much easier to terrify, lowering the MDVs of anyone the exalt targets with a social attack meant to evoke fear, dread and terror.
The Flickering Urge, the Urge to Horrify
Flickering urges fill their possessors with contempt for the static and decadent existences of lesser beings and and need to shake their world through showing them how disturbing their own and others actions are. Just as Flicker learned that cowardice was a weapon that others handed to him, so too do Flickering Princes feel the urge to bring change to the world through fear, whether the fear of death, the fear of the unknown or the fear of stagnation and obsolescence. Such fear-mongering can be addictive, it always feels more empowering to be the one others are afraid of than to be the one cowering, and the urge always carries the danger of twisting its bearer's virtue and perception, creating justifications to terrify and suppress where there is none.
High Compassion Flickering princes driven to distraction with disappointment when others do not act on their own valor and instead fill them with the fear of inaction. High Valor flickering princes strike terror into the hearts of those who mean their loved ones ill. High Temperance Flickering Princes use fear and submission to control unruly populaces and protect them from themselves. High Conviction Flickering Princes use fear to illuminate the complacent to the truth of their situation, especially when it means they have to do something they don't want to.
Examples of Flickering Urges include the following:
- Challenge and overwhelm prospective warriors you meet to test their resolve.
- Haunt communities with visions of terror to bring them to the truth of a real threat hanging over them.
- Steal the children of noble families to show them that anything can be taken from them. Anything.
- Graphically kill and string up slavers as a warning to the rest.
- Become a night horror to clear the streets of Nexus of the homeless every night.
The Torment of Flicker
To use fear as weapon one must understand it, and sometimes to understand it one must be afflicted by it to their very core. Those who turn against their nature and ignore the lessons of the Flicker in the Noble Dark clearly must be taught once more to understand it. The Flickering torment works as the Solar Limit Heart of Tears, though it includes cowering in terror along with crying and screaming. The fear ripples out like a wave, causing those who come within sight of the infernal who have a dodge MDV of less than the infernals (Essence + Primary Virtue) to also begin to hallucinate, cowering and begging for respite. This effect lasts for one full day.
Precipitous Fiat: Patient Night-Terror Pace
Terror mustn't be rushed, it must be allowed to stretch out and ripen before being plucked from the vine, so says Flicker. Whenever the infernal allows a chase, interrogation, bout of torture or any other traumatizing and terrifying event to go on longer than it needs to by at least half again the time needed, they may roll their Conviction and lose that much torment. In order to benefit from this act there must be a chance of discovery, being foiled or of the prey escaping, even if it is a slim chance.
First Flicker Excellency
Cost: 1 mote per die; Mins: Essence 1; Type: Reflexive
Prerequisite Charms: None
The Flicker of the Noble Dark is a creature of duality: subtle but terrifying, destructive and yet fair. To villains he is a half-formed eldritch creature who darts in and out like a nightmare and leaves them in ruin and woe, to the masses he is a chilling spectre of possible doom, a vision of the torment that awaits those who themselves terrorize the innocent. He does not spare his loved ones from the terror, to do so would be unfair to them. He takes away what has not been earned and collapses wicked structures to make way for new ones. He disdains self-delusion and empty justifications, employing stark and disturbing truth against his foes whenever possible to display their naked corruption where they cannot dress it up or hide from it. He refuses to allow anyone to be aloof to their sins, dragging them out of the darkness before returning to it himself. Flicker's understanding of evil and wickedness is his own and he does not bow to the conceptions of others regarding who must be punished and who will be spared. Flicker is prone to making snap decisions, taking swift and decisive action rather than wasting time in deliberation.
The First Flicker Excellency can always be used on actions to inspire terror, uncover deception and dismantle social or political groups. It can be used to enhance attack actions but only actions that cause the target to bleed and suffer, never bashing attacks. The Darkness doesn't show mercy when it lashes out. It can always be employed against targets the character has a negative intimacy towards. It can also be used against those the target has a positive intimacy towards, provided the charm isn't used to enhance prohibited actions.
This excellency cannot be used to enhance actions that create positive emotions or reactions in its targets. It also cannot be used to create something physically lasting, such as a crafted item or a social group. It also can't be used on planning actions or actions that create deception from whole cloth, though it can be used to confuse the truth or spin hyperbolic angles on actual events.
Terror Fades by Dawn
Cost: -; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Permanent
The fear that scars the psyche deepest is the fear you can only see the edges of, that remains ephemeral and that which you have no evidence or study of. The fear that remains unknown. The exalt leaves no trail that others can follow, even when leaving behind a scene of carnage and madness there is no evidence to suggest who truly performed the deed. Any mundane attempts to track the infernal automatically fail. Against perfect perception effects the infernal adds their essence in automatic successes to the contested roll.
Disturbing Gait Technique
Cost: 4m Mins: Essence 2; Type: Simple
Prereq: Terror Fades by Dawn
The Noble Dark does not hurry, he does not pant and sweat. He does not run, and yet he cannot be escaped. While this charm is active, the infernal has perfect balance as in Graceful Crane Stance. Dashing also becomes reflexive and can be freely done once per action, it does not need to be flurried and has no DV penalty. However, the effects of this charm are disturbing and obvious. The infernal moves with effortless grace and unnatural quickness, but they do not appear to exert themselves. They walk calmly and are propelled forward with terrible speed.
This charm does not enhance jump actions and ends immediately if the user attempts to jump.
What Scares You My Dear?
Cost: - ; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: None
The Noble Dark knows how to get you. He knows what terrifies you to your core, whether spiders or the loss of your children or the dying of the light. What Scares You My Dear? enhances Read Motivation rolls, adding a target's fears as valid pieces of information to learn. What Scares You My Dear? in addition increases the willpower cost to ignore mental influence that causes Emotion effects related to fear and anxiety by 1.
Such insight into fear, however, can make one's manner direct and disturbing. The exalt takes an external penalty equal to their Essence on any Manipulation or Charisma based rolls to inspire any emotion or compulsion effects that do not involve fear or intimidation.
Noble Nightmare Mien
Cost: - ; Mins: Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: What Scares You My Dear?
Look into the eyes of Flicker and you will see an inky darkness through which things you do not wish to name swim freely. Noble Nightmare Mien enhances its prerequisite, making any attempts at natural mental influence to invoke Emotions related to fear and anxiety into unnatural mental influence.