Celestial Directions – The Blessed IsleMay 19, 2010
As I mentioned previously, the Blessed Isle is… different… than the other directions. Not only is it the seat of temporal power in Creation, it is also a literally blessed and spiritual place. Once the home of the gods, when the Primordials ruled Creation, it was inherited by the Celestial Exalted, and later claimed by the Terrestrials. It has always been a place of magic and wonder, and while its wonders are certainly lessened in the wake of the Usurpation and the Contagion, compared to the rest of the world, it is a gleaming jewel of civilization and luxury.
The Blessed Isle is currently the home of the Scarlet Empire, also known as the Realm to most of Creation. While the Empress herself is missing, the Realm continues on, led by the eleven Great Houses descended from her and her power. It is a strict government, led by the Exalted and the Exalted alone, with an unchanging hierarchy of Dynasts, patricians, citizens, commoners, and slaves. And yet, even the lowest commoners have amenities such as running water, clean streets, and medical care unknown to some of the wealthiest portions of the Threshold.
In the absence of the Empress, the Realm is run mostly by the Deliberative, made of Terrestrial representatives from the Great Houses. However, there are numerous inter-faction conflicts between the Deliberative, the Immaculate Order (the state religion and the sponsors of the Wyld Hunt), the All-Seeing Eye (the Empress’ secret police), the Magistrates (the not-so-secret police), and many, many other political parties, all of whom want a piece of the Scarlet pie.
Spiritually, the Blessed Isle is a place of notable stability, as the Immaculate Order keeps the local spirit courts in line. Holidays are strictly sanctioned, and gods and elementals are fiercely (and sometimes violently) prohibited from holding anything resembling temporal power. Thaumaturges and sorcerers are carefully licensed, and while Essence expenditure is a common occurrence, it is rarely done without one manner of restraint or another.
But the times are changing. With the disappearance of the Empress, the intricate cogs of the machine are wearing down. Myriad factions, kept at bay by carefully planned conflicts and the Empress’ guiding hand, suddenly find that hand gone. The Great Houses are pulling their resources back to the Isle, preparing for civil war, while the spirits are finding less and less Immaculate interference. Like all of Creation, the Blessed Isle is subject to the ravages of the Time of Tumult, and while, for now, the various parties maintain an unsteady peace, the entire Realm is little more than a massive powder keg just waiting for the right spark.