Adamantine Arrow

Overview

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An Arrow is a warrior first, but that isn't as narrow a calling as many suspect. For every frontline fighter who rends the horrors of the Abyss with bare hands and soul, there's a strategist who sees and manipulates the secret, struggling patterns of the world. Economic, ecological and more esoteric conflicts are studied, mastered and beaten into any shape an Arrow desires. Mages see reality as a many-layered thing, full of signs and movements invisible to the uninitiated. The Awakaned art of war follows these patterns using a thousand techniques.


Members

The Adamantine Arrow attracts a large number of young mages — impulsive, confident men and women who believe their Arcana automatically confer martial wisdom. These petitioners are quickly disabused of such notions. An Arrow trains to endure much and live simply. Arrow mentors dangle the secrets of battle magic before their eyes, only to deny teachings until a student has humbled himself with hard work, ascetic discipline or a tortuous quest. Some masters are incredibly harsh, and leave protégés with physical and psychic scars. Some never graduate beyond the petitioning stage, but in most cases mentors are loathe to let one of the Awakened waste her life. The best teachers create warrior-diplomats who can handle etiquette and bloody combat with equal confidence. The worst teachers turn out emotionally stunted guardians whose awkward, taciturn nature might be mistaken for quiet wisdom.

And some candidates don’t need to be tempered. These are the natural tacticians and athletes that Arrow elders seek to train and — importantly — rein in before they can endanger others. The Adamantine Arrow doesn’t give these young mages a choice in the matter. While they learn battle spells easily enough and can fit their mind to a strategy with fluid ease, they need to be taught honor, discretion and a sense of responsibility for the rest of the Awakened. The order mourns when it fails to indoctrinate these initiates. It brings shame to kill them, and their names are not spoken again.

Old mages tend to join the order in response to a crisis, or out of a sense of outrage. The Arrow gives them the tools to avenge themselves or to right a wrong. Ideally, the order only accepts vengeance-seekers who can learn to broaden their perspective and see that all of the Awakened deserve help.

Philosophy

The Adamantine Arrow practices what it calls the Brilliant Road or the Adamant Way. The Atlantean name had no precise translation and meant both “unyielding wisdom” and “light of thunder.” The Adamant Way is divided into five precepts — the Hand. The human hand creates, communicates and destroys. It is always meeting, negotiating with and vanquishing the external world, and is one of the primary gates for the sense of touch. Accordingly, its five “fingers” represent the ideal ways for a warrior to conduct herself in the Fallen World. They are:

* Existence Is War - All beings learn wisdom by first separating themselves from the unity of things, and then by separating the unity of what remains.

* Enlightenment Is Honor - Mages know that everything has an esoteric meaning, so meaning alone cannot be a sign of wisdom. True enlightenment is the ability to create meaning as well as reflect it.

* Adaptability Is Strength - An Arrow should never rely on magic alone, or pure power of any kind.

* The Supernal Is the Self - There’s a reason only humans become mages. A human being is, in essence, no different from the cosmos.

* Service Is Mastery - Over the ages the Adamantine Arrow learned that the obvious ruler is rarely the true master of an occult hierarchy.

Rituals and Observances

The Adamantine Arrow values efficiency, so it integrates its rites into the practical aspects of training and exercising the warrior’s art.

* Oaths - An Arrow is rarely without an oath to some person, cabal or ideal.

* Order of Challenges - Even though the Adamantine Arrow’s mages are famous for their dueling skills, they restrict challenges within their own ranks.

Titles and Duties

The Adamantine Arrow respects two relationships: student and teacher, and commander and subordinate. Within Arrow cabals these associations are normally one and the same, but outside of them the latter is determined by the nature of an Arrow’s oaths, whether he’s liege or vassal. Teachers and students do not have official names, but go by the vernacular of mages’ common language.

* Banner Warden - The appointed defender of a mixed cabal or the secondmost senior member of an Arrow cabal takes this title as the symbol of her group’s martial virtues.

* Adamant Sage - War leaders and chief tacticians are given the title of Adamant Sage.

Known Arrows

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