The Seven Winds, from “The Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” the Byzantium Notebook, by Ben-Derek Hayes (Circa Age 13).

I got a special order to write up the Seven Winds that are Principalities in Ben-Derek Hayes’ “Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” as defined in his cosmology, which comes from the Byzantium Notebook. You can find a description of that cosmology here. Since, you know, I DO create these articles for money, I was only too happy to slip this way forward in the schedule and put it on Friday (which you’d normally get a much shorter article) in return for money. All art in this article is by warmtail.

As a concept, “The Seven Winds” is often used to refer to all the people of the world, or all the places of the world. Someone wishing to tell a captive no one can hear them might say “Shout to the Seven Winds if you wish, for none will answer,” while a veteran sailor might brag she’s “Had all the Seven Winds fill my fails, on one voyage or another.” Secrets are sometimes “Whispered only to the Seven Winds” to indicate they’ll get out eventually, and a tyrant might claim “My grasp exceeds even that of the Seven Winds themselves.”

The winds are also seen as powerful forces of fate and destiny, and someone might well be said to be “born into” a given wind, while those who seem to choose a specific trait might be said to be “blown by” a given wind. While different cultures assign different traits to those born into each wind, and it’s always seen as just one aspect of how Principalities can influence a mortal’s life, it’s very common to refer to a wanderer as “born into the North wind,” and a morose personality as being “blown by the Death Wind.”

The Seven Winds, in order of both age and potency, are commonly considered to be The North Wind, the South Wind, the Rogue Wind, the East Wind, the Tea Wind, the West Wind, and the Death Wind.

The North Wind

The North Wind is by far the oldest and most powerful of the Seven Winds, and among the oldest of the Principalities (and the only wind to be treated as a Major Principality). It is believed that the North Wind came into being when the gods of Land and Sky first developed, long before most other principalities evolved, and that was at that time the *only* wind. However, being wise and foresightful, the North Wind realized that if the wind blew from only one direction, in time all the world would be leveled before it. Thus, it set out to bring forth others of its kind, and five more winds formed of these efforts. One of the Seven Winds, the Rogue Wind, has an origin outside of the efforts of the North Wind, and is often seen as a trickster and, if not cruel, at least uncaring to the fates of others.

The North Wind is normally depicted as a blue face in a complex burst of spiraling tendrils, and is equally often named “he” and “it.” He is the Principality of free movement and free choice, trade, sailing, the cold, weather, storms, clouds, silver, amber, and leaving your childhood either physically or metaphorically. The North Wind is sometimes called the Blue Man, Father Sky, the Lord of Whispers, and the King of Feather and Flower.

His followers prefer slow, constant action to sudden bursts of activity, but in extreme cases are willing to play the part of cleansing storm leveling everything old so new growth can come. They are keepers of chronicles of seasons and bloodlines, and violently opposed to imprisonment, slavery, and coercion of any kind. Most places dare not outlaw followers of the North Wind, though those of his faithful who mark their own faces with blue, gray, or black are often seen as troublemakers, and treated in much the same way as is a boiling thunderhead on the horizon.

The South Wind

The South Wind is the Queen of the Sky, the Knight of Swans, the Lightning Lance, the Bringer of Comets and Falling Fire, and the Guardian of the Heavens. She is the Principality of raptors, waterfowl, fire from the sky, borders, swift action, summer, growth, self-identification, inspiration, guards, and the single most important moment of any person, place or thing. Though she is a Lesser Principality, that is a matter of scope, rather than power. The South Wind does not move from her areas of interest, but within them even the greatest Major Principality would hesitate to oppose her.

All other winds bend knee to the South Wind when she is present, even the North Wind from whence she came. Indeed, the South Wind is that part of the North Wind that felt her true nature was not to be the North Wind and, in complete accordance with the North Wind’s dominion over free choice, chose to stop acting as the thing she was not and instead exist as the South Wind. However, the South Wind rarely interjects herself into the affairs of the other winds, unless they dare to influence those concepts she claims as her own.

Many people work to keep themselves in the favor of the South Wind, for she oversees both their right to say who they are and the most important moment of their lives, whatever that might be, and when disaster strikes many invoke her as the Principality of swift action, but few worship her. The exceptions to this are generally martial-leaning folk who believe some forces work against those who would find themselves, or are moving unseen to put an end to guarded peace, inspiration, environments that promote growth, or all of the above. These warriors most often taken on her aspects as Principality of hawks and swans, and her role as the strike of lightning that burns rotted, choking underbrush away, or both.

The Rogue Wind

When only the North Wind and South Wind had come to be, a gust pried itself lose from their choreographed dance of pull and push. This was the Rogue Wind, the Killer Wave, Eclipse, Lord of Broken Things, and Jester of Fate. The Rogue Wind is the Principality of that which operates in the unplanned, unexpected, and unforeseen. It plays no favorites, bringing anarchy and surprise to all, but when a system has oppressed a people long enough, Storm Jesters may raise and openly call for the Rogue Wind to come and sow chaos, for when order becomes tyranny, any change of events can be seen to more likely favor the oppressed.

Fools, jesters, those who lack sense and those who turn away from reason and societal norm are blown by the Rogue Wind, and beloved of this most capricious of Principalities. Some embrace this role specifically to free themselves of the expectations of others, and are known as the Bedlam Born. No one can count on the Rogue Wind’s support, but the unpredictable from beggar to berserker are oft treated with a modicum of respect and fairness purely to keep the Rogue Wind from taking note. Sailors, lords, and builders hate the Rogue Wind most, but with that hatred comes and acknowledgement of its power, and a coin is often tossed to those careening outside the roles of society in an effort to appease this ultimate agent of anarchy.

The East Wind

The East Wind is the Prince of Mists and Herald of Fog. Known as the Little North Wind, it is in many ways a lesser son of its forebearer, but it is also the keeper of the East Star, by which all navigation can be attempted. It is the Principality of consistency over time, navigation, orienteering, and small things having large effects. The lost, prestidigitation and misdirection are also within its bailiwick, as lacking guidance and clarity is seen as just one form of engaging with directions and maps.

Cartographers and navigators often worship the East Wind, as do some natural historians who seek to understand how the median of all action can form the equilibrium of the world. Many sects of the East Wind date back to the time of the Dusk Empires and have kept charts and secret forms of mathematics hidden within their coded scrolls. These are among the only acceptable group in which the Dwarf/Elf/Human Alliance (or Dehallia) will allow Gaub-Alge (or “goblins”) and draugh to operate in Dehallia cities and society, as the sects claim to have ancient ways to commune with the East Wind to determine if an individual will be a fair mathematician, cartographer, or navigator, and even the most bigoted of Dehallians dare not loose the East Wind Sect’s access to navigators.

The Tea Wind

The Tea Wind is the Herald of Trade, the Constant Consort, and the Loops of the Sky-Dragon. She is the Principality of civilization, trade, negotiation, contracts, progress, wealth, sea ships and ports, colonization, oppression, conquest, decimation, disease, deceit, press-ganging, hunting for sport, and genocide. As the name might suggest, she oversees and powers the Tea Gauntlet, the worldwide sea travel route that brings teas from Al’iimbiraturiat Aleazima, Dà Dìguó, Dai Teikoku, and other lands for which Dehallia has not bothered to learn the names, to the Commonlands, and through it the remainder of the Dehallian Kingdoms.

The Tea Wind is seen as the exclusive patron of Dehallia and its kings and nobles, as the route it empowers makes it easy for things that are cheap and plentiful in their lands to the distant empires where it is eagerly traded for tea, silk, jade, saffron, coffee, orichalcum, ivory, ink, and magic rods, and then back around to Dehallia. While at one time numerous small island nations that severed as important resupply stops made significant wealth from such trade, various Dehallia nations have long since conquered them, to ensure the wealth largely comes to rest in their coffers.

The West Wind

The West Wind is the Mist Upon the Waters, the Daughter of Sand, and caster of Nets. Born equally of the North Wind and South Wind, she ensures winds bring life and renewal after the storms have passed and fires extinguished. She is the Principality of gentle rains, sweet winds, fresh winds, fish, crabs, seaweed, leaping dolphins and mighty whales, and the rainy season. She is beloved by farmers, fishers, and many things of the sea that yet need to breath to live. She rejects all violence and force, and when draught or stagnation or red tides settle in to plague a region, it is said that some evil has bound the West Wind, and she will not strike back. But she is also the Principality of caring, and to endure, and in time, all of her bounty stolen by those who mean evil will return to where they should always have gone.

The Death Wind

The Death Wind is the Last Gasp, the Still and Silent, the Living Cyclone, and the Air Unmoving. It is the Principality of endings, death, rest, time, tornadoes, finality, harvests, the hunt, successors, and destruction. When the North Wind saw the first six winds that existed he realized that, in some strange time, even the wind must die. Then did he reach to his own end, the moment past which he must be replaced by some other thing or cease to be himself, and took the final gust of his entirety, and set it free. This is the Death Wind, the movement that brings an end to all movement. Mountains shall be ground down by it, every mortal shall meet it when they draw their last, and only it knows when it shall reap those that spawned it.

The Death Wind is evoked when something must end so that something else may come to be. There are no edifices built to worship the Death Wind, but its dark funerary followers can claim a corner in most other temples. For everything will end, and the moment should be observed and respected, and all ceremony of death is said to come from the reapers of the Death Wind.

Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes Index

As I translate and post more excerpts from these amazing analects of creativity, I’ll post the links to the end of the first Horrors & Heroes post, so serve as an Index for all the Horrors & Heroes content.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on June 23, 2022, in Game Design, Microsetting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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