Revealed from the Shadows: Cult
of the Downward Spiral
By Andrew Besuden
Contributing information by Mess
Special thanks to BEAU
There are those among the sluagh who believe the end of the line has arrived for their kith. Its not endless winter or even the imbued, it's the end of the cycle of reincarnation for all kithain and the sluagh are the first to go. In the eve of the Endless Winter, the cult grows and more fanatics begin to rise. The downward spiral has begun; dare you try and stop it?
The Doctrine of Oblivion
The Cult of the Downward Spiral's main doctrine is that the sluagh are the last rung of the Changeling Way, and that the progression of the many deaths from the sidhe, the highest rung of the incarnation the cult says, and other commoners has filled up the lower rung with many, many faerie souls that have been reborn as sluagh. The Cult uses this doctrine to explain the manifestation of the sluagh ability to communicate with and see the dead and the increase in the number of sluagh being created. Separate branches in the cult attest other reasons (or in one heretical branch, an entirely different doctrine and tenets). However all the branches of the cult, except for one, follow the same tenets:
· The Changeling Way is a cycle of reincarnation that alters the glamour and form of those kithain who die and lowers their position in the rung.
· Of all the kithain, the sidhe are at the highest rung below the Tuatha De Danaan, all new souls are sidhe at first.
· The bottom rung of reincarnation is the sluagh and when the sluagh dies, that faerie soul is forever lost to oblivion as one of the dead.
· Cold Iron, anathema to all of the Dreaming, hastens the cycle by completing destroying the faerie soul and causing it to join the ranks of the dead.
|The End of the
Are the sluagh the last incarnation of the kithain in the Changeling Way before the soul is lost forever? Not really. The Changeling Way is a tricky thing for anyone to discover all the secrets about, even for the sluagh. The only viable reason the precursors to the Cult of the Downward Spiral gave as to being the last rung in reincarnation rung before dying was the sluagh ability to communicate with the dead and the large population of sluagh. With no other proof not showing in the pudding, ideas emerge. Ideas become theory, theory becomes belief, belief becomes dogma. The Cult of the Downward Spiral has mixed personal fears, inconclusive proof, and fanatic zeal to create what they believe to be the ultimate truth.
Origins of the Downward Spiral
The basis of the Cult of the Downward Spiral began several centuries after the Shattering during the 17th century. That sluagh began to notice that they could begin to see ghosts far more easily and without waiting for Samhain or using certain rituals to contact the dead. This caused many sluagh to ponder how this happened, but many more were more eager in using this newfound gift. There were those who looked into this new ability a little too much, thus the downward spiral slowly began to rise. The cult slowly grew in members up until 1969 when the Sidhe returned during the Resurgence and the ensuing Commoner-Noble conflicts all over the Autumn World. Whether do to increasing amounts of Dark Glamour or, as the Cult cries out, the result of the number of casualties racked up by the Accordance war, and similar wars in other places, the population of the sluagh had increased dramatically. The cult began resorting to kidnapping several commoners who claimed to be reincarnated nobles and ran experiments to see whether or not what the commoners said was true (results were inconclusive as many of the commoners escaped or were killed in the process). Sluagh who had found out about the cult's practices began to root out these sluagh and prevent any more of the tortures, and of course even more scapegoating by the other kithain, who already felt the cult was a bunch of weirdoes and bedlamers to begin with. The Cult of the Downward Spiral went into hiding. With the Dream Storms caused by the Week of Nightmares; the return of the of Adhene; and the ensuing war breaking out in Concordia, The Downward Spiral has started to resurface fully once more.
Five Branches to the End of Everything
The Cult of the Downward Spiral is a fractious cult and there are many smaller cults within it that revolve around main ideas. Below are the five largest factions that are currently active in the cult.
The Main Spiral
This faction is what most sluagh think of when they hear of the Cult of the Downward Spiral. The Main Spiral is very strict to its tenets and is one of the most overt factions of the Downward Spiral, believing that recent events have signaled that more children of the Dreaming will die again like in the Accordance War, thus filling the ranks of sluagh. With the current scene of Concordia, the Main Spiral has begun sprouting up all over the Kingdom of Apples rasping out that the end has come and trying to gain more followers for their cause. Meanwhile the less overt members have once again begun snatching stray commoners to prove to all of kithain society that the sluagh are last incarnation of kithain before death. With the current rising of tide of civil war, what's an extra missing person going to matter when there's another side to blame.
The Long Road
The faction known as the Long Road is consistent of a group of sluagh who are taking a modernistic approach to the concept of the Downward Spiral. This group believes that a kith may reincarnate several times as one kith before degrading down to the next one. The only exception to this are the sidhe, the Long Road followers fully believe that leaving behind the commoners during the Shattering has caused their deaths to immediately knock them down to the next incarnation so that they begin their long atonement for their neglect. The Long Road is the least fanatic of all the main factions of the Cult of the Downward Spiral. The common phrase spoken among members of this faction, "leave me alone, I'm just trying to survive this journey."
The Long Road and Depression
Knows Too Much (5pt flaw)
The Path Walkers faction never even knew that the Cult of the Downward Spiral had gone underground or even resurfaced. This faction was too busy traversing the Dreaming in to find the remnants of the original Changeling Way ritual in order to discover a way out of it. The Dream Storms and the return of the Adhene have forced the Path Walkers back into the Autumn World. Which gives them no end of grief as they feel their "holy pilgrimage" to find the remnants of the Changeling Way ritual to be impeded by the Dark-kin. There are still a few Path Walkers still out in the Dreaming however many of them have entered Bedlam are not returning any time soon, nor are those Path Walkers who've entered the Paths of Balor. Through all this trouble, the Path Walkers faction has noticed something. They've noticed several of the trods in Far and Deep Dreaming have shown signs of recent travel as well as remains of sidhe armor and banners that no Path Walker could recognize. However, the other factions of the Cult of Downward Spiral ignore this information of "Lost Houses" as an exaggeration of mists. Though older members have begun to have the same feelings they had during the Resurgence
Dreams of Orpheus
This faction believes that there is a way to cheat to the Changeling Way Spiral, however it requires for all kithain to be brought down to the sluagh rung and all must be killed at once, save for one. It is then believed that this last sluagh will be granted the power to cross the shroud and bring the other sluagh back, much as the Orpheus was fabled to do. The Dreams of Orpheus was one of the earliest cults to resurface, sometime around 1992, and centered on the Mediterranean coast of Europe. This cult is extremely fanatic and has been rumored to be responsible for the death of at least three Sidhe nobles and five commoners ever since their resurfacing. They have even been known to commit murder by cold iron if a soul is not important to this or future turns in the cycle. They even claim to be in contact with a wraith that has the ability to allow them to find the cult's "Orpheus." Though with the Smertniya Boorya raging on communication has been limited but, the cult has be given "signs" while in their sleep to head to entrance to the underworld, or as they call it Taenarus, which the cult now believes to be located somewhere in Thessaly region of Greece.
The Dreams of Orpheus is not like the other cults. In actuality, the Dreams of Orpheus has become a Spectre Cult in service to the Onceborn Malfean Zyras the All-Consuming (for more information on Zyras see Doomslayers: Into the Labyrinth). Through use of her Spectre servants still in the shadowlands side of the Shroud, she has been able to influence the Dreams of Orpheus to go to the former headquarters of the Orphic Circle, Taenarus (as described in The Quick and the Dead and Mediums for Wraith: The Oblivion and The Walking Dead for Hunter: The Reckoning), en masse in order to give her more soldiers for her growing armies of the walking dead. She has also begun forcing the faction to begin using cold iron in order to send more changeling souls into the shadowlands in order to feed her army of Spectres even more.
Among the other factions of the Cult of the Downward Spiral, the faction known as the Ascending Spiral is branded as heretic and spat upon whenever mentioned. The Ascending Spiral fully believes that the original doctrine of the Cult of the Downward Spiral is completely wrong. They believe that the cycle of reincarnation is reversed and the sluagh, not the insolent sidhe, are the ultimate expression of fae. The ability to see and communicate with the dead is a result of obtaining this perfection and that it is the duty of all sluagh to help their fellow kithain to obtain this same state of transcended perfection. Of course this involves the Ascending Spiral to kill said kithain in order for them to climb to the next rank. Though there are some kithain, mostly sidhe that are not fit to become perfection, for them they must be cast of the cycle forever by cold iron death. This doctrine of killing has also spread to the prodigals whom the Ascending Spiral believes to be poor fae who have completely lost their way. Redcaps and the Dark-kin, however, are considered anathema to this faction, whom consider the Redcaps to be failed attempts to achieve sluagh perfection and the Dark-kin to be those fae too corrupted to be even born. Needless to say, the Ascending Spiral is not making very many friends this way and is one of the groups that sane sluagh, and several members of the Main Spiral, wish to be eradicated entirely.
and the Apostates
There is another reason why the other factions of the Downward Spiral and kithain society hate the Ascending Spiral. The Ascending Spiral has one of the highest turnover rates to Dauntaindom due to their "helping" their fellow kithain to sluagh perfection. The majority of these new Dauntain almost always become members of the Apostate Doom, continuing their "great cause" however using Cold Iron more and more often to believing that the majority of kithain society is too imperfect and corrupt to join the glorious ranks of the sluagh.