Oba
Table of Contents

Every so often over the past millennium or so, Kithain visitors to the eshu ancestral homelands would find themselves in the court of a mighty caliph or matriarch whose visage was radiant like the dawn and whose words crackled with power and authority. These leaders appeared to be like the eshu the Kithain were familiar with, but somehow different as well: their eyes burned with golden light like the trapped essence of the sun, and their posture suggested the strength of the mountains and the grace of the rivers. Perhaps strangest of all, the normally defiant and adventurous eshu these Kithain were familiar with treated these rulers with great deference, at times bordering on outright servitude. Yet as soon as they were out of the caliph's presence, the eshu became their normal selves again and refused to discuss anything about the encounter or the strange ruler they had met. If sorely pressed, all they would say is that as the rising sun gives hope to the world, so too did such visits give them direction. And for centuries, that is all the other Kithain could learn, much to their frustration.

Of course, this is because the Chosen of Eshu are no fools and know very well when they've got an advantage to hang on to it for as long as they can. Thus, they have allowed few to even become aware that the oba exist.

They are simply too rare and too important for the Tribe to allow their existence to become public, lest enemies of the Elegbara target them for destruction. Such fears are not entirely unfounded, either. The oba are the beating heart of the Tribe, the last pure bloodline directly descended from Elegbara himself. As such they are entrusted with the Tribe's most sacred responsibilities — tending what few lands the Tribe can still truly call home and keeping the Tribe from drifting apart by acting as leaders and spiritual guides. Though a Concordian eshu quite possibly may never see one, or even learn that they exist, all Elegbara feel the presence of the oba in their hearts, and when one dies, the entire Tribe knows it. Even to the Iku, oba are the closest things the Elegbara will recognize as rulers of their kind, and that alone should tell the skeptical exactly how important they are to the Tribe.

Young oba are nearly identical to regular eshu, save for their eyes, which are always speckled with either striking gold or shining silver, depending on whether they are Ojo or Iku by nature. Most are born into noble families and are thus raised toward the thrones they will eventually assume, learning the courtly arts of war, politics and leadership. An increasing number are born in less fortunate circumstances, however, and must endure years of deprivation and dodging Banality until their true nature finally shines through. Oba are also legendary hell-raisers in their childling and wilder years, sharing the same love of adventure and weakness for a wager that their cousins do. Eventually, though, they feel a deeper call bidding them to return to the lands of their birth. Upon their return, they are taken in by other oba and undergo the secret rites ofrulership, emerging in their full glory at last as leaders and spiritual guides to their Elegbara brethren.

Oba organization is loose at best; there are perhaps three dozen of them with titles, for one thing, and for the majority of their time they concern themselves with the task of overseeing the day-to-day business of their lands, both mundane and chimerical. Although the actual laws they enforce depend heavily on whether they are Ojo or Iku, all oba are widely respected for their wisdom, fairness and hospitality and gladly take in fellow Elegbara who need assistance, provided such guests mind their manners and don't protest over a little housework. Most important of all, twice a year the oba secretly gather in a grand council to discuss matters of importance to the Elegbara as a whole. These meetings last for up to two weeks, depending on how much there is to discuss and how long the debate takes to resolve. At the end of the council, a simple vote decides what course of action or words of wisdom they wish to pass on to the Elegbara regarding the issues that concern them. Trusted runners are immediately dispatched to the far corners of the world with word of these decisions.

To help escape detection, the oba are careful to wrap these pronouncements in the guise of a new story or bit of unearthed lore so that eavesdroppers are unaware of the true import of the tale. All eshu instinctively recognize that what they are hearing is important, though they may not know exactly why unless they are aware of the oba. While certainly not obligated to heed these proclamations, even the most rebellious Iku at least give them some serious thought. This is the ancestral trust of the Tribe speaking, after all, and their opinion carries great

Appearance: At first, oba appear much like their eshu cousins: tall, slender and graceful, with pointed ears and enchanting voices, although in them these features sharpen further to pure perfection, making the oba almost painfully beautiful to behold in their fae aspect. Most striking of all, however, is their eyes -— merely speckled with gold or silver before they take a title, an oba's eyes become softly shining orbs, like miniature suns or moons, once they assume the throne. This radiance changes with their mood as well, growing brighter when they are angry or excited, and dimming to a contented glow when the oba is happy or at peace. Though some ostentatious oba dress lavishly, adorning themselves with the trappings of wealth, most actually prefer to wear the common dress of their land, with perhaps one or two slight changes to indicate their station. This applies to their fae dress as well as their mundane habits, but no one will ever mistake an oba for a regular commoner. Their very posture suggests their lineage, a noble line that extends unbroken to the dawn of time. Due to the natural purity of their bloodline, there are no oba not pure African, Indian or Middle Eastern descent.

Note: Oba are considered a noble kith, like the sidhe; even those without a title require the Fae Realm of Lofty Noble to affect with cantrips.

Affinity: Scene

Birthrights

Spirit Pathways: Identical to the eshu Birthright, this is a reflection of the hell-raising years oba enjoy before settling down into responsibility. This Birthright is lost immediately and forever when the oba assume a title, replaced by the Mantle of the Orishas Birthright (below).

Mantle of the Orishas: Identical to the sidhe Birthright, Awe and Beauty. Only oba who have lawfully claimed a title and preside over territory recognized by their fellows recieve this Birthright.

Until then, they are considered too immature and untested to receive the glory of this power, regardless of what their actual age and life experience might be. When oba are found eligible, this Birthright is activated as part of the secret ceremonies required for coronation. Oba cannot bond with lands outside of Africa, India or the Middle East; all attempts to claim lands elsewhere have failed, and in one instance even resulted in the death of the oba as the very earth rebelled and swallowed her whole. For that reason, oba will rarely, if ever, be found outside these lands except in the most Oba can never botch rolls involving Empathy or Leadership.

Tale Craft: Same as the eshu Birthright. Their tales hold great weight as they impart wisdom to the whole Tribe.

Frailties

Reckless: Identical to the eshu Frailty; this Frailty is immediately and forever lost when the oba assumes a title, replaced by the Native Soil Frailty (below).

Native Soil: Oba are literally tied to the lands they love. Upon assuming a title, they become bonded to the land they rule and cannot leave it or its Near Dreaming counterpart for long without becoming sickly and eventually wasting away to nothing. This prohibition does not include traveling the Far or Deep Dreaming, though oba are still loath to leave their lands for long and will not agree to do so unless the need is truly dire. Oba may leave their territory for up to one full cycle of the moon. After that they begin losing Health levels at a rate of 1 per day, which cannot be healed by any means until the oba returns to her lands. Oba are innately aware of this time limit. Outside of their lands, oba suffer a +1 difficulty to all rolls due to their constant pain and distraction.

Quote: Our words are the words of the rocks and the trees and the rivers and the sky. We listen to the orishas, then pass their guidance along to our people. What greater mission could there be than to protect one's family?