A discussion of the Fiddler Knights. . .
As has been said before, not all of the Sorrows seek a return of WaitsBeyond and her brood, from the Twain. Some seek to further only their own needs and agendas. H’sii and his Fiddler Knights are such a force.
H’sii draws personal power from chaos. Often referred to as the Mad Fiddler, H’sii was initially created to sow discord among the humans. He was to keep them from unifying and bringing all of their forces to bear against the Ok’o-wibiyrn. Not only did H’sii find that he excelled at this task, he found that he could draw power from the discord he created. He was the first force to actually twist and pervert some of the Iktom. These twisted weavers, known as “FiddleBacks” can only weave in darkness and wear H’sii’s mark, the black fiddle, branded upon them.
He soon became a problem to all when he discovered he could draw just as much power from the Ok’o-wibiyrn as he did from the humans. As the War of Sorrows raged on many began to believe that it was H’sii who had extended the length of the war by making sure that no side truly ever got the upper hand. There is a story that states that H’sii had drawn the ire of Ok’o-wi and, had it not been for the return of the Mover and the subsequent upheaval, she was prepared to destroy him.
H’sii was one of the first to hide when WhatMoves arrived. Having already built a refuge in Shadow, he sequestered himself there. The Upheaval had temporarily trapped him in Shadow but he was able to watch much of what transpired.
He marveled at the pure chaos that WhatMoves brought when the Upheavel was initiated. Since that moment H’sii has seen himself as a twisted version of WhatMoves. Rather than keeping things in motion though, H’sii keeps things in commotion.
When he saw the pact made between the Thunderers he thought that he too would become a force to shape mankind. He would be their new Mover. He saw them as the most wonderful toy, capable of so much and spilling over with power. He was delighted when things came together to bring great misfortune and spectacular sorrow to them. He watched for the most wicked and twisted among the humans and whispered promises to them of great power if they would but entertain him.
Those that answered his call became, in effect, his performers in a great show. They became his Fiddler Knights.
The Fiddler Knights have but one goal, to play “the Great Game” and become the Champion of Winter. Every year H’sii selects a set of achievements that his knights must aspire to. The season of the game begins with “First Thaw” and ends with the long night of MidWinter.
During this period the Fiddler Knights are expected to go and entertain H’sii with the travails that they can engineer. In the Great Game, points are awarded for style, stealth, outlandishness, cascading effects, and achievements attained. When all achievements for the winter are attained, the Fiddlers position themselves for “final call”. They are performers on a stage and the only audience that counts is H’sii himself. During final call all Fiddlers endeavor to tie up any loose ends to their plots for the year, while setting threads that foreshadow what is to come.
To put it bluntly, the Fiddlers are a secret society of psychopaths who treat the entire world as an improv stage on which to entertain their patron. Those who please H’sii are rewarded with magic and gifts from the Fourth Event.
Those who are chosen to become Fiddlers, will have been chosen because of great misdeeds done that have had reverberations that are far greater than the deed itself. Other times they will have been chosen because they are known for acts of flamboyant terror and chaos that they have perpetrated. All are irrevocably insane. Among the great evils, however, they remain the most human. They can even be sympathetic and appear to be antiheroes or misunderstood.
The frightening thing about the Fiddler Knights is that they are not obvious and their machinations are often unseen until too late. They may work years on one plot point, waiting for the right moment to pull at a single thread, that can break generations of love and trust and then dance with glee. Some even go so far as to soliloquy when a plot comes together. Some are so flamboyant as to present themselves as great villains and seek out someone to be their arch-nemesis, actually going out of their way to create him, and then working to destroy him.
Fiddlers cannot abide the presence of a Dul Ah’gallan. Those creatures serve forces that would end their patron’s fun and they have the capacity to out them. It therefore is in the best interest of a Fiddler to help hunt down and destroy such creatures. They get even more points if they are able to thwart the plans of other Sorrows and the Watchers.
They are so insidious that there have been great Fiddlers who set themselves up as heroes who could do no wrong. In truth most people who have encountered a Fiddler have done so without ever knowing. They often seem like respectable or “good” people. The truth is that whatever good they do is ALWAYS to build up hope that they can crush in the most spectacular way. A Fiddlers’ song always ends in sorrow.
The symbol of the Fiddlers is a spider with a fiddle shape upon its abdomen. All Fiddlers must have it. The chance that they could get found out it part of the game. When a Fiddler gets outed they have to engage in an escape or go down in a blaze of glory. Fiddlers are also expected to have an ego signature. This is some item they leave, a theme they act within, or act that they do that lets people know that who did the deed. Whatever the thing that is used for the ego signature, it is always grotesque, perverse, and disturbing.
Because of the Fiddlers constant evil doing. general insanity and depravity, and their interactions with dark things, they develop an aura of tainted mystery about them that is detectable by those who have some ability with the mysteries. Powerful Fiddlers learn ways to shroud their taint, but after a while it grows strong enough for them to develop an aversion to sunlight. The dark gifts that are given to them by H’sii, eventually cause them to be affected by the Withering.
The Jays and Doves consider the Fiddlers to be blasphemous affront to the work that they do. They are careful, however, and avoid calling someone out as a Fiddler. Such accusations can lead to witch hunts and can cause people to turn against each other. Such a backfire would actually support the Fiddler’s goals. In most cases, therefore, they will dispose of Fiddlers in “quieter” ways.