Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some thoughts on Banishment

A post on the Dream Pod 9 forum about how Fallen are identified as Fallen got me thinking - as part of my mild "style upgrade" to Tribe 8, Banishment should be a little flashier. We already have the personal aspects - visions, the Banishment ceremony, the Fatima withdrawing Her love from the Fallen. It's definitely not over the top, but it makes me wonder how much is too "Las Vegas" for the Banishment ceremony.

I have this image in my head of the Fatima appearing before the Tribe during the Banishment ceremony and plunging her hand into the Fallen's chest. Light begins to pour out of the accused's body, beaming out from his tattoos in all directions, eyes, and mouth in all directions, getting brighter until the tattoos begin to smolder and burn away. Finally, the brand of the Fallen sears itself into the Fallen's face from the inside out. The Fatima withdraws her hand clutching something a shadowy, dully glowing object and the Fallen collapses to the ground smoking and in agony.

The burning away of the Tribal tattoos is meant to symbolize disconnection from the Tribe. Depending on the individual, it may not be complete. For example, strictly Fatimal markings may burn away but more personal tattoos may stay. The tattoos could also still glow and smolder, but not actually burn away. In all cases, I'd assume that some kind of Fallen marking will be evident afterwards. For a Yagan, existing Tribal markings may crawl and flow into Fallen markings. The point is to make it a little flashy and visually dramatic.

Also, my description of what the Fatima pulls out is intentionally not bright and sparkly. It's not the character's soul (although the Tribals believe that it is), but more of a very small portion of the Fatima's own essence. That small spark allowed the Fatima to not only "jump start" the character's connection to the River of Dream, but also control and direct it to some extent. In my reboot, I'm assuming that all Tribals are Awakened by their Fatimas, barring unusual circumstances. Unfortunately for the Fatima, breaking the circuit by removing that small spark of essence only unfetters the newly Fallen. Those that already know Conjunctional Synthesis already have all of the skills and instincts necessary to reconnect to the River on their own. For those that do not wield Conjunctional Synthesis, they discover it was their Fatima that was holding them back. Unfortunately, the psychological and emotional damage resulting from Banishment is enough that the majority never repair the bridge to the River beyond a slightly elevated residual connection that isn't much better than those who have never been Awakened. For those that Awakened early (before the Awakening ceremony) or for some reason there was a delay (for example, they were born far away from the Fatimas), the removal of the Fatima's essence might do very little to break their connection to the River of Dream - if anything at all.

Overall, the idea is to put a little more pizzazz into the Banishment ceremony, via the Fatima putting on a show of ripping out the soon-to-be-Fallen's Tribal essence. Ceremonies are a big part of Tribal life and given the importance that the Awakening ceremony must have, the Banishment ceremony should be just as big (if not bigger). I think that applied correctly, it can make the world of the Tribals seem more fantastic and otherworldly.