Black Feather Shroud

Category:
cape/cloak/robe
Description:

• A corpse wrapped in the Black Feather Shroud will
return to a semblance of life at midnight each night. This
restoration is imperfect in that it does not return the corpse
to true life. Rather, it animates the corpse in a fashion
similar to a zombie—the revenant corpse has no will of
its own and follows the orders of the last living person to
pluck a feather from the Shroud. These corpses also have
no Abilities or Mental or Social Attributes. Scions may not
be reanimated this way. Because the restorative magic works
at midnight, only one corpse per day may be reanimated in
this manner. A corpse doesn’t have to keep wearing the
Black Feather Shroud once is has been reanimated.
• An ill individual who dons the Black Feather
Shroud and is sprinkled with pure or holy water is
immediately cured of whatever disease plagues him.
This effect doesn’t apply to physical damage, nor does
it apply to damage caused by severe debilitation from
disease. In other words, a car crash victim cannot wrap
himself in the Shroud and sprinkle himself with water
and have all of his wounds healed, nor can a character
ravaged by leprosy wear the Shroud and sprinkle herself
and thereby regain the use of her atrophied legs. In the
latter case, use of the Shroud will prevent future atrophy
or debilitation from occurring, though.
• A mortal or Scion who wears the Black Feather
Shroud as the first nightly ray of moonlight strikes her
earns a limited, temporary state of invincibility. In effect,
the character earns an amount of extra health levels equal
to her normal, unwounded health levels. Poetically, this
is a “second life,” and the character suffers no wound
penalties as she loses health levels from the “second
life.” Characters who obtain healing do indeed earn
back health levels of the “second life.” This invincibility
dissipates when the sun rises, whether or not the character
witnesses the sunrise. Any health levels the character has
suffered in the “second life” up until that point also
vanish, though if the character has suffered any damage
to her own, natural health levels, that damage remains.
A character may benefit from the “second life” only once
per night, and the vanishing of invincibility at sunrise
negates the possibility of cumulative invincibility. That is,
the character will not acquire a “third life,” a “fourth life,”
et cetera. The character need not continue wearing the
Black Feather Shroud to continue enjoying its benefits for
the night. Only the initial contact with the moon’s light
is necessary, and only one individual each night can be
protected by the Shroud in this manner.

Each of the aforementioned powers causes a single
black feather to desiccate and fall from the Shroud when it
is used. (Each zombie revivification requires one feather.)
Exactly how many feathers remain on the Shroud is up
to you, but once they’re all gone, that’s it. This isn’t so
much an attempt to limit use of the Shroud, but rather an
explanation of why the Shroud won’t be suitable for use
in ending worldwide plagues and epidemics, for example.
Also, remember that the Black Feather Shroud has been
around for thousands of years, and the heroes and favored
mortals who used it before the players’ characters probably
used it more than once. It’s hardly an attractive raiment,
being an ancient cowl adorned with seemingly rotting
animal plumage as old as the Gods themselves that falls
off from the cloak with repulsive frequency.
Additionally, the Black Feather Shroud has one ability
that remains a secret, forgotten as it has been by men and God
alike over the centuries or even millennia since the Shroud
was last seen. If the Titans know about this ability, they
certainly haven’t told any of their more able titanspawn.

• If a living person, a Scion included, wraps herself
in the Black Feather Shroud and anoints herself with the
“essence of a God,” she will herself become a God at the next
new moon. She remains a God for as long as she continues
to wear the Black Feather Shroud. Doing so, she takes the
place in the pantheon of the God whose essence she used
to perform the ritual. In game terms, this is accomplished
by spending a Legend point. As such, it is comparatively
easy for a Scion to potentially ascend to godhead. The moral
quandary comes in the death or negation of the God she
replaces, since that God is her parent. If the God is on poor
terms with his Scion, woe to him if that Scion finds the
Black Feather Shroud and learns of this potential.
How a mortal might achieve this feat is up to your
discretion, as our concerns are largely with the players’
Scions. A quantity of a God’s blood or some other
associative aspect of that God—Xipe Totec’s flayed skin,
Tyr’s hand, Papa Legba’s crutch, the shard of Mjolnir
that acts as the hammer on Eric Donner’s revolver—
would almost certainly suffice as the “essence of a God.”
That raises the question, though, of how the mortal
might come into possession of such a thing.
The fate of the erstwhile God whose Scion replaces
him is likewise in your hands. While it makes thematic
sense for the God to die, since the Black Feather Shroud
is a death-related relic, it’s more in keeping with the epic
tradition for the ousted God to somehow steal back the
Shroud and reclaim his divine status. It will be a bad day
to be the treacherous Scion at that point. (See “Falling
from Heaven” on p. 271 for more on this.)
• Finally, the Black Feather Shroud cannot physically
be destroyed by normal violence. The only way to destroy
the Shroud is for a living person (not an animated corpse)
to swathe himself in the Shroud and tear it asunder from
within. Doing so will kill the person. His soul thereafter
becomes irretrievable. He cannot be returned to life, nor
will he haunt the World or the Underworld restlessly as a
shade. He’s simply gone forever.

Bio:

The Black Feather Shroud appears as a small cloak or shroud, worn over the shoulders, made of short black feathers. When held, its power can be felt, emanating a force that is not that of the World. To the eyes of a Scion or other supernatural creature, it radiates with a purplish, almost black light.

The seemingly most valid references to the Black
Feather Shroud come from a collection of Scandinavian
sources. Shostokovich’s Vølsung Saga refers to a valkyrie—
not Brynhild—returning from the dead “in the wings of a
raven.” An obscure fragment of the Kalevala that Lönnrot
leaves out of his definitive version refers to a time when
“the ravens ate the sickness from Lemminkainen’s heart
and bones.” Both the Heimskringla and the Prose Edda,
though not Sturlson’s, refer to kings taking to the battlefield
“cloaked in the feathers of those birds that haunted the
dying” and how “the feathers turned blows away.”
an illuminated 19th-century version of the
Mabinogion describes Matholwch of Ireland’s “cauldron”
(from the most accepted version of the tale) as “a pair of
wings wrought from the feathers of Bran’s namesake.”
It then goes on to describe Efnisien destroying it in the
traditional manner, by climbing inside and breaking it apart
from within. This version of the Mabinogion goes on to later
describe Lleu repairing the “feathered vestment” with the
aid of Gwydion son of Don and using it to “become more
than a man” after Gronw Pebyr kills him. Cross-referencing
Lleu with other cultural pantheons relates him to both
Hermes and Loki (as well as Lugus and Lugh, Gods whose
pantheons aren’t discussed in this core Scion book). This
last passage seems to imply that Lleu somehow used the
“feathered cauldron” to become a God.

-The shroud was first encountered by the Band in the lair of Tecuhtli, after defeating the beast.
-The Band then did much research into the background of the Shroud, before leaving it in Guo Yu’s suite under guard of his detectives.

Black Feather Shroud

COTFS - Scion UnitOmega