Exalted: Dragon-Blooded the Devils Journey
Known also as the Lawgivers of Creation, the Solar Exalted are the champions of the Unconquered Sun. Once the masters of Creation, the Solars were betrayed and usurped by their trusted advisors and soldiers. Most Solars were unable to be reborn until recently, their Exaltation was trapped in the Jade Prison, and the Wyld Hunt was organized to slay those few who did find a way to reincarnate.
After the war was over, the Unconquered Sun chose to reward his scions with dominion over Creation. Within days of the war’s end, the Solar Deliberative was founded as a council where all Exalted could have a voice, and serve as a collective driving force for the future of Creation. While the Solars became the Lords of Creation, the Lunar Exalted became their linked companions and mates. The Sidereal Exalted served the Deliberative as advisors, and the Terrestrial Exalted’s ability to breed made them ideal soldiers. This time became known as the First Age, where Creation thrived and wonders of all kinds blanketed Creation. Unfortunately, it was not to last.
The Great Curse
Of all the Exalted, the Great Curse affected the Solars the strongest. Like a sickness, it grew unnoticed at first, slowly twisting the Solars’ virtues into horrifying magnified versions of themselves. Where once there had been compassion there was corruption: valor turned to vanity, conviction turned to cruelty, and even temperance gave way to self-righteousness and malice. Eventually these flaws drove the Solars away from the guidance of their patron god, while the Unconquered Sun himself turned his face in return.
In the face of this great corruption, the other Exalted could not deny the Solars rule was becoming harsher by the day. The Sidereal Exalted, using their mastery over fate, determined they had three options. Leave Creation to the Solars, which would eventually lead to the destruction of Creation. The Second option was to negotiate or restore the Solars to their former purity, though this option led to an uncertain future. The final option was to guide the Terrestrial Exalted in overthrowing their masters, completely eliminating the Solar Exalted from Creation. In the end, the Sidereals elected for this final option, as it was the only of the three that guaranteed Creation’s continued (albeit diminished) survival.
Over time, the Sidereals convinced the Dragon-Blooded that their only hope for survival was to overthrow the Solars. The Dragon-Blooded crafted their plans in secret, constructing secret artifacts and negotiating with gods until the time came. The first act of the Usurpation was by far the bloodiest. While almost every Solar in Creation attended a great banquet, the Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals ambushed the party, slaughtering many of the unarmed Solars in one fell-swoop. While several Lunar Exalted died with their mates, most had recognized the growing decadence from their mates and were not as quick to defend as they may have once been, most choosing instead to flee to the edges of Creation. Cut off from the center of their power, the remaining Solars’ great powers and skills were not enough to withstand the combined Fate-weaving of the Sidereals and the seemingly limitless supply of Terrestrial soldiers. One by one the Solars were defeated.
Though normally the Solar Essences would have been reincarnated through the natural process of death and reincarnation, the sorcerers of the Sidereals used powerful magic to draw the souls into an enormous construct they called the Jade Prison. The powerful artifact would hold the Solar Essences inside, preventing them from reincarnating and protracting the Usurpation into an endless war. When all of it was done, the Sidereals chose to simplify things for the new masters of Creation and removed themselves and all traces of their existence from Creation. As their final act before withdrawing, the Sidereals rewrote portions of history to cast the Solar and Lunar exalted in as dark a light as possible, establishing them as Anathema— mad with power and in league with demons.
The Return of the Solars
Though most Solar Essences had been trapped in the Jade Prison, a few Solars managed to elude capture long enough to escape that fate. Unfortunately, their souls found a different kind of torment, as the Dragon-Blooded Wyld Hunt mercilessly hunted and exterminated any and all Solars they could find. This reach was often extended by Sidereals operating secretly within the Realm. For centuries the Wyld Hunt was incredibly successful, preventing any major solars from becoming a significant threat. The Wyld Hunt, however, was swiftly diminished by the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress, as the political maneuvering of the Dragon-Blooded’s Great Houses resulted in most of the Realm’s troops being withdrawn to the Blessed Isle.
The sudden drop in the Wyld Hunt’s efficiency couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Realm. About the same time as the Scarlet Empress’ disappearance, the Deathlords set out to seize and harness the power of the Solar Exalted. Their attempt, however, was only half-successful. Approximately half of the three hundred imprisoned Solar essences were captured and corrupted, resulting in the birth of the Deathknights. The other half were able to elude capture, and within a year the Solar Exalted began manifesting across Creation once again.
Solar Essences tend to seek out individuals who are both extremely talented and ambitious, mirroring the greatness of the Unconquered Sun. Exaltation may manifest itself at anytime, though the Essences seem to attach themselves most commonly to young adults, manifesting in times of great emotional or physical strain.
The Dawn Caste of the Solar Exalted is filled with the soldiers, generals, and martial champions of the Unconquered Sun. Some of Creation’s greatest warriors herald from their ranks, as Dawn Caste essence shards manifest only in warriors. Even so, a warrior can take many forms ranging from war veterans to gang leaders. Their Caste Mark is a sunburst, depicted as an open circle surrounded by eight spokes and their Animas manifest themselves in bright whites and golds, sometimes tinged with the reds and violets of a sunrise.
The Zenith Caste Solar Exalted are priests, prophets and mystics. The Golden Bulls lead their circlemates into the fight against the Creatures of Darkness. Their Caste Mark is a large golden disc and their Animas are bright white or gold like the noonday Sun. Zenith Caste Solars’ Animas are empowered by the light of the Unconquered Sun himself. With but a touch, the Golden Bulls can burn the bodies of the fallen for one mote of Essence per body, sending the smoke (and the soul) to Heaven, and preventing the body from rising after death as a Zombie and the lower soul from rising as a hungry ghost. They are protected from, and can strike down, demons, the Undead, and other creatures of darkness.
The Twilight Caste Solar Exalted are most commonly Exalted from scholars, and artisans— those who are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and education. The Twilight Caste are best known for their powerful dominion over the realms of sorcery and magic. Since the Solars are the only Exalted with natural access to the highest circle of sorcery (The Solar Circle), many of the greatest sorcerers in Creation have been Twilight Castes. Their Caste Mark is a golden circle, the top half solid, the bottom half an empty ring. Twilight Animas tend to the most spectacular of colors, containing bright golds, dark reds, purples, and even blues.
The Night Caste of the Solar Exalted are usually exalted from the best spies, assassins, and thieves Creation has to offer. In the First Age the Night Caste solars served as silent assassins and enforcers of the law, allowing the light of the Sun to shine through even in darkness, and in the Second Age, some Night Castes are returning to this duty. Their Caste Mark is an empty golden ring and their Animas manifest themselves in ghostly whites and golds tinged with grays and violets.
The Eclipse Caste Solar Exalted are most commonly Exalted from bureaucrats, diplomats, and couriers— those who excel at social interaction. Where the other Solars represent mastery over Combat, Performance, Sorcery, and Stealth, the Eclipse Caste Solars are masters of negotiation and deal-making. Where a Dawn Caste might use his sword to defeat an army on the battlefield, an Eclipse will use his mastery of words to defeat a nation in its courts. Within their circles, Eclipses often take the role of the circle’s voice. Their Caste Mark is a golden disc within a ring. Their Anima are brilliant whites and golds that shimmer like the Sun’s corona during an Eclipse.