The Three-Burials Shroud (reinforced buff jacket •••)
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By Ferryman

Soulsteel and white jade reinforced buff jacket, Artifact •••

he Three-Burials Shroud is named for its maker, a long-dead lord of Partham who was himself a champion of the ancestors. His first burial was as a young man, when he was thrown from his horse and thought killed. His family buried him, only to spend a day and a night in deathlike slumber before clawing his way to the surface again. He claimed that during his sleep he communed with the spirits of the dead and returned with their aid to be a voice for them in the halls of the living. Legends say he became the first of Partham's famous Lineage Warriors, and preached the importance of veneration for the ancestor cult. His second burial came at the hands of rival clans, who resented his influence and conspired against him. They lured him into the tombs, where they waylaid him and sealed him beneath the earth. Rather than claw futilely at the rock, he turned his steps deep into the old passages and came across a place of power forgotten by the march of time. He meditated there, listened to the earth, found his way out again through narrow tunnels that no one yet living remembers, and sought out his betrayers to bring upon them a richly-earned vengeance.

He had the armor made many years later, in anticipation of his third and final burial. It was carefully crafted of heavy, finely-pebbled leather taken from some unknown beast, the chest and shoulders reinforced with concealed soulsteel plates brought from the lands of the dead and hidden white jade links quarried from the cliffs below the city, then woven with enchantments to make it a vessel for spirits. The Shroud was to be a means by which he would make his presence felt even after his death and interment in the tomb he built within that ancient rediscovered manse. For a time it was. But as decades passed and his passions waned, the call of Lethe grew stronger. He made his voice heard by his descendants more infrequently, until finally they returned him to his resting place with all honors and sealed it forever. Now the Shroud has been reclaimed and borne into battle again.

Evocations of the Three-Burials Shroud

The Shroud resonates with the earth and with the dead. A Solar or Abyssal attuned to it can allow a dematerialized ghost or an earth elemental to inhabit the armor, becoming the Shroud’s tutelary spirit. Doing so creates a bond between the spirit and the wearer; it also allows a ghost acting in this capacity to treat the Shroud as an additional fetter, allowing them to reside within it and accompany the wearer into Creation even if they normally could not. This raises the Resolve of both by 1 against influence that runs contrary to the interests of the other, and creates a mutual Minor Tie of loyalty toward one another that persists as long as the attunement does. This Tie can be strengthened as normal, and doing so is required to unlock the Shroud’s most powerful Evocations.

Note that the Evocations described below assume a ghostly spirit animates the Shroud. An earth elemental may awaken very different miracles.

Ancestral Ward
Cost: 2m Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Withering-only
Duration: One turn
Prerequisites: None
Living essence enables the Shroud’s tutelary spirit to offer protection to their ward commensurate with the strength of their bond. This Evocation allows the wearer to increase their armored soak against all Withering attacks for the remainder of the turn by the strength of the Tie that joins them: 2 for a Minor Tie, 3 for Major, and 4 for Defining. If the strength of the Tie is not equal, the lower rating applies.

Forbidden Ground Sentinel
Cost: 5m Mins: Essence 2
Type: Simple
Keywords: Perilous
Duration: One combat
Prerequisites: Ancestral Ward
The Exalt breathes in the scent of the soil beneath her, letting the Shroud resonate with the grim truth that every hill, every valley, every patch of earth in Creation is a battleground and a graveyard. This Evocation can only be used while the character stands upon earth, soil, or stone at ground level. So long as she remains on that earth, it is her battleground, and she gains a point of Initiative at the start of each turn. This effect ends if she is Crashed or if she moves (or is moved) to a different range band. The area affected can be expanded by watering the earth with an offering of blood - if the character kills a significant foe while this Evocation is active it grows to encompass the area within Short range of her position, allowing greater freedom to maneuver without ending the effect. This Evocation can be used only once per scene.

Special Activation Rules: This Evocation can only be unlocked by a character who has strengthened the mutual Tie of loyalty with the Shroud’s tutelary spirit to the Major level.

Tomb-Wraith Exhalation
Cost: 6m Mins: Essence 3
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Decisive-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Forbidden Ground Sentinel
The final Evocation of the Shroud allows the character to clothe herself in the terrible inevitability of the grave, shaking the resolve of those who stand against her. This is a reflexive Intimidate action made when the wearer delivers a successful Decisive attack. Roll Charisma + Presence and apply it to all enemies within Medium range, ignoring the mass influence penalty. Opponents whose Resolve is overcome must either immediately flee the battle, or spend 1wp to remain and gain a Minor Tie of Fear toward the wearer. All targets whose Resolve is overcome, regardless of the result, lose 1 Initiative which is then gained by the wearer. Battlegroups must instead immediately check for Rout. Once per scene.

Special Activation Rules: This Evocation can only be unlocked by a character who has strengthened the mutual Tie of loyalty with the Shroud’s tutelary spirit to the Defining level.

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