First off, I apologize for getting this out a day later than I promised.
I have a couple of things I need to go over, but first things first, I wanna go over the bit of Keeper lore I hinted at over Twitter. Then we can bite down onto the more serious stuff.
Keeper Missions and Rankings
The life of a Keeper was always a busy one. Missions were a big part of the Keeper Order. It allowed them to keep the world and her Leylines safe, and to protect those from the threat of Corruption and Imbalance. As such, there would always be no less than two mission or job boards in each Keeper Base—no matter how big or small (if there was a base that spanned out for acres (for example like the main base in Scotland), there would usually be two or three in each acre).
As the Keeper Order grew in numbers, both on and off bases, McGill and Friaggi decided to start handing out fliers for missions in local bars, pubs, and trading squares. During the first fifty years of the Keeper Order, the bases weren’t fully established yet. They realized that a lot of their supporters lived in the local areas. However, they still weren’t sure if the general populace were ready for the reveal of a bunch of people with the power to manipulate the natural elements (and energy). McGill and Friaggi decided to come up with “code-words”. McGill decided to name the mission types after gemstones that held the qualities needed for each mission. Friaggi decided to name the ranks after some of the brightest stars in the sky, as true strength in the face of struggle always shone the brightest.
- Tourmaline (Reconnaissance):
Going into an area ahead of time and scouting it can be vital. Members of the Keeper Order would be assigned areas to survey and monitor. The amount of time they needed to stay and case the area usually varied on a few factors:
- The size of the area of interest
- The number of members willing to take the recon mission/how long they are willing to stay (sometimes, they did get a choice)
- The Leyline(s) within/around the area
- The rank/difficulty/urgency of the mission
Sometimes, though, it would not be as simple as going into a small village for a few days/weeks. If something was wrong, they would be required to stay longer, and either try to remedy or contain the situation. If they had to call for backup, they were ordered to stay put until help arrived.
Sometimes, members of the Keeper Order would be required to go into anti-Keeper territory. They would have to do this to see if they still had any hidden pockets of supporters left in the area, or to check on a Leyline. These missions usually lasted longer, because of the extra care the Ke/Se/Sc’s had to exercise as to not get caught. Plus, it took longer to arrange safe passages to these areas, sometimes they needed to smuggle themselves inside. Because these territories/countries would have their own currency and wouldn’t use the universal world currency at the time, it also meant transferring unified currency to whatever their local currency was, and that also took time.
Tourmaline (not a specific color) was chosen because it is believed to attract inspiration, aid concentration, encourage balance and promote understanding. It is also thought to calm nerves, sooth grief, promote balance, and build self-confidence.
- Amber (Retrieval/Escort):
An item or person of interest has caught the attention of this elusive group. This is when they send a small group of people (or sometimes larger) to retrieve said item/person. The items could be artifacts that are rumored to be objects of power, tomes on magic, important documents, traded goods, currency loads, and others.
When someone is sent out to retrieve a person, it could be because the Council has determined that person as a good candidate to be a Seeker or Scout—maybe even a fully Awakened Keeper. It could also be because this person has committed crime(s) in Keeper-friendly areas, and the Keepers have been requested to help seek this person out. Rogue Keepers were also starting to become common shortly before the fall of the Order, and other Keepers still loyal to the Order could be called upon to bring them back for trial and punishment. Another reason to the Order to “retrieve” a person is to help them escape from anti-Keeper areas.
Escort missions usually fell underneath this category as well. Sometimes, a small group of Keepers would escort a trading caravan or vessel. Sometimes, they had to escort one or more people through a dangerous area.
Amber was chosen because of its benefits when it comes to mental clarity, intellect, memory, and descion-making. Also because of it aid to patience and understanding.
- Obsidian (Diplomacy):
Keepers were also known for being diplomats as well. This was mostly because many Keepers who lived on bases close to/in their home country (or even if they lived off base) usually got themselves involved in local politics as much as they could. Even if they weren’t directly involved in the power struggles of politics, they were still active members in their communities, always wanting to serve the people closest to home, first. This means that Keepers (as well as non-powered Seekers and Scouts) were sometimes called to be negotiators. If two Keeper-friendly territories were having a dispute and couldn’t agree, then members of the Order on both sides would meet with each other and their parties to try to come to an agreement. Sometimes, this meant settling petty disputes, like land and debt. Sometimes, this meant going directly to a council—or even a king and/or queen—to find a way to end debate without bloodshed and war. With Keeper-neutral territories, they wouldn’t send as many Keepers, but if there were some local Keepers/Allies in the area, they would be called upon to assist the visiting Keepers.
It was rare that Obsidian missions took place in anti-Keeper territories. But when they did, they were usually quite dangerous. They would be sent to those areas to try to allow support for the Keepers, but those were usually saved for members of the Council.
Obsidian was chosen because it magnifies all negative energies so that they can be fully experienced and released. It repels negative energy (Corruption), and disperses unloving thoughts. It can also reveal hard truths, expose flaws, weaknesses, and destroy blockages. Also, because these types of missions were usually reserved for the more experienced and diplomatic members of the Order…much like obsidian, which is best used by somebody very experienced and even powerful.
- Smoky Quartz (Purification):
These missions were the only missions that were required to have no less than two Keepers (Keepers that have Awakened together) on the mission. Non-Awakened Scouts and Seekers could come along, too, but never without a pair of Awakened Keepers by their side. If something went wrong: Leyline was Corrupted, Light overpowering Dark (or vice versa) and causing an unbalance—a shift, or a Corrupted Creature/Effigy was spotted, then it needed to be purified. Sometimes, the cause of the issue wouldn’t be apparent right away, leaving the party to search for the cause before they can proceed (i.e. people are suddenly turning up dead and the suspect has feverishly avoided capture. The locals have started to suspect “black magic” is at work). Purification missions usually included one (or sometimes more) or the following:
- A damaged Leyline that was causing damage to the environment (forests/coastlines/villages/cities/etc)
- An imbalance of Light/Darkness, causing political/religious/social/racial tension
- An odd creature that may be unnatural or Corrupted
- Crimes that were deemed “unsolvable” by local law enforcement
- An item of power that has fallen to the wrong hands/has gone out of control
- Natural/unnatural disasters (including odd mass suicides performed by animals/people and mysterious disappearances)
Smoky Quartz was chosen because of it’s neutral affinity with all forms of Natural Energy. It has better healing and purifying abilities than a normal clear quartz, because of its neutral nature. It is also a universal stone that can work well with other stones—it can even amplify their effects, as well as heighten its own. Very protective. Relieves fear, stress, depression, and brings emotional calmness. Fortifies resolve. Teaches how to move on. Alleviates nightmares and manifests your dreams. When it comes into contact with negative emotions/energy, it gently dissolves them. Promotes positive, pragmatic thought. Can be used in scrying to give clear insight and to neutralize fear of failure. Dissolves contradictions, promotes concentration, and alleviates communication difficulties. Facilitates moving between alpha and beta states of the mind and aids in clearing the mind for meditation.
It was often rumored that if you carried a stone that shared the name of your upcoming mission, (i.e., you’re going on a Smoky Quartz mission? Take a small piece of smoky quartz with you), you will have good luck on your missions, and will be able to perform better. McGill has always called this a “happy side-affect”.
Missions were usually ranked from most difficult to least difficult. These ranks were named after some of the brightest stars in the sky. The ranks of each mission were as follows:
- Sirius (S-Class)
- Arcturus (A-Class)
- Regulus (B-Class)
- Capella (C-Class)
- Vega (D-Class)
Examples of missions:
- Obsidian, Rank Arcturus:
- Dispute between the local law enforcement and a group of orphaned children has put everybody on edge. A few want to see the children harshly punished for their crimes, but more want them to be relieved, and maybe even given second chances.
- Location: Central Hungary—Anti-Keeper territory, though growing pockets of support are present. Do not draw attention to yourselves until the matter is done and dealt with. If things start to look bad, search for local support and smuggle yourself out.
- Amber, Rank Vega:
- A trading caravan hailing from China needs escort to Vietnam.
- China is a Keeper-neutral territory, and usually deals with both worldwide and individual currencies. Vietnam is a Keeper-friendly territory.
- Tourmaline, Rank Capella:
- The Keeper Council has decided to try to establish a new base in Belarus, and want to send some members to recon the area before they send more people. There have been some reports about some strange happenings in the area, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Leyline information is unknown.
- Location: Northern Belarus—Keeper-neutral at this present moment. That may change, though, depending on the actions of the parties sent.
- Smoky Quartz, Rank Sirius:
- There have been reports of flora and fauna perishing in the forests around a small farming village in Ireland. Even the rivers have been tainted. People have even began to turn up missing. There have been rumors of a monstrous creature looming in the dead environment. Local hunters and warriors have tried to track the beast, only to return injured/near death…or they never return at all.
- Location: East Ireland—a three-week journey from the coast of the Irish Sea. Keeper-friendly—they requested our help, as they had no one else to turn to.
Sometimes, a mission can change type and rank as the situation needs it. For example, an Amber mission, ranked Capella, can change to an Obsidian mission, ranked Regulus. Or a Tourmaline mission, ranked Vega, can change into a Smoky Quartz mission, ranked Sirius.
The parties assigned to any mission must compose, complete, and turn in a report, though there were a few different ways they were allowed to create and submit their report. It wasn’t required, but nearly every Keeper (by the time the Order fell) kept some sort of journal. Upon returning, they could submit the journal itself to their superior Keeper (depending on the mission/person, it could be submitted directly to the Keeper Council for immediate review). They could also write a full, separate report, and simply turn that in instead. Sending letters via courier, bird, or any other means was also acceptable, submitting their report in chunks. Finally, the report (and even memories) could be shared via the Leylines and meditation…but this was usually for the more skilled Keepers, and required a very clear head to perform…meaning that, depending on the mission and rank, this could take longer, and if their written reports were lost, could be unreliable due to the natural flaws and limitations of human memory. And the longer it took for a “meditation submission” to commence, the greater the risk of valuable information being lost.
Next on my lore to-do list, I want to establish countries/territories that were for, against, and neutral towards the Keepers. This is a list that has been changed throughout the Keeperverse’s world history.
So, this past month and a half, I created a personal account on Tumblr and got a feel for the website. And, I actually like it a lot. Better mobile access than WordPress, and it has a more…causal atmosphere. I also have the feeling that I will reach a better target audience there. No, I’m not getting rid of this blog–far from it. Within a month or two, I hope to be updating both blogs.
Also, there is another…small matter I feel the need to address. On Twitter, I know I’ve said some stupid shit–mostly relating to my job and the current political climate. For that, I do apologize. I wish to not be associated with politics, and I don’t want to come off as a person who does nothing but bitch about the unjust bullshit at her day job. That’s not what you guys came for, no matter how helpful it may be for myself to let it out. So, to those it may have affected/hurt–I’m sorry. So from this point on, this blog will be dedicated only to developments I have made in my writing career–Keepers of Balance or otherwise. That means, that this blog may not be updated as frequently…but a blog like this is no place for a personal diary.
Hope you all stay well, and can forgive me.