View Full Version : Essay: The Nature of Alchemicals as Compared to Creation's Exalted

The Rose Dragon
2010-09-24, 11:06 AM
Orichalcum Caste

Orichalcum Caste are often known as the first among equals among the Alchemicals by the Populat. They are the Shining Ones, the Archons of Autochthon, and were it not for the will of the Great Maker, they could surely rule the Eight Nations. Any Creation-born familiar with the Unconquered Sun and the Solars of the First Age, as well as the nature of the Alchemicals and the magical material orichalcum, would reach this conclusion.

Only the most ignorant among Autochthonians, however, would suggest such a capacity for the Blessed of Noi.

In the design of the Orichalcum Caste, one thing is clear: Autochthon feared the Solars. Certainly the Orichalcum Caste shares some of their perfection - the souls they catalyze their creation are larger-than-life, and the bodies they now possess are naturally strong, intelligent and forceful of presence. Their raw power would often be enough to overcome any obstacle put before them.

Here, however, the Orichalcum Caste differs from the Solars, who were crafted from the former's design. Raw power is only an aspect of the Lawgivers. It is possible for a Solar to rely on nothing but sheer might, but it would be a waste of the Solar's gifts. A Solar has the same inherent capacity for power as he has for finesse and resilience, for their perfection, in reflection of their patron, is absolute. The Orichalcum Caste did not partake in the Unconquered Sun's perfection beyond imagining, instead only relying on the supernal qualities of the golden ore they were built from. Ultimately, they will fall short of the exceptional potential the Solars possess.

To give an example, let us look at the magic for each kind of Exalted that stems from outside their Charms and from their raw will. Orichalcum Caste, among the Alchemicals, is one of the two Castes innately blessed with the potential to weave protocols - gifts from the Great Maker to enforce their desires on the Design of Autochthon or the Loom of Fate. They are certainly mighty miracles to contend with, and a young Solar might be envious of the protocols for a while. Yet the Solar will learn sorcery much more quickly, if he intends to endure the trials, for the spiritual refinement the least of sorcery's Circles requires is lesser than that required by the Man-Machine Protocols. And the Orichalcum Caste's protocols will never reach the heights of power the Adamant Circle Sorcery has, even at their most refined.

Then turn your gaze to their Charms, to see the difference. Solars gain their Charms innately, as an extension of themselves. While training speeds up their evolution, even a lone Solar can learn the most powerful of Charms as surely as the weakest, if he has the will to do so. And while a powerful infrastructure quickens their most complex tasks, they are almost never necessary for them, and even then a Solar can create the infrastructure from the raw Wyld.

In comparison, the Orichalcum Caste, like all Alchemicals, is forever bound to the society that created them. A Solar might owe his parents for his birth, and the people around them for giving him the chance for heroism, but the Orichalcum Caste owes them everything. The soul that catalyzed the Exaltation was a result of the society's needs, not a destiny of heroism. The body that accepted the soul was forged by mortals, not through the accidental coupling of two. And even after they are "born", the Charms of the Orichalcum Caste relies on the limits of their artificial bodies, which can only be increased by mortals as a sculpture carves a statue. Their Charms are likewise forged and implanted by mortals, and their spiritual refinement of Essence requires physical changes in the vats. While a Solar can leave society behind, if he desires to, the Orichalcum Caste can never break off forever.

This does not mean that Orichalcum Caste fades in all things when compared to the Lawgivers. Their reliance on the mortal society is an intended feature, not a flaw. The Orichalcum Caste is striking, imposing and powerful. Were they not dependent on the Populat, they would become tyrants as Autochthon feared the Solars would in time. This dependence forces them to interact with humanity, and anchors them to what they, despite their artificial bodies, ultimately are - humans. It forces them to be approachable and questionable, even at the heights of Clarity. It forces them to be respected, if not loved - which they quite often are. Few fear the Orichalcum Caste as much as they fear a wrathful Solar, and that is their greatest strength. While their brilliant innovations require others to be implemented, others will always be with the Orichalcum Caste. Above all else, this is what the perfection of Orichalcum Caste truly stands for.

2010-09-24, 01:43 PM
Very nicely put.