If it takes a hero to attract a celestial exaltation, it takes a legend – a legend of the sort that even an exalt could not acquire in a single lifetime – to accept the sort of exaltation originally devised by the Great Maker. A great relaxation of these stringent requirements was but one of the many changes made in the second generation design, in the name of finding adequate stock of humanity to draw from, and the consequences of that compromise ring across the eons.
In the realm of brass and shadow, a man might live a hundred incarnations, a hero in each and every one, before being called upon to serve in the role of champion, but in creation such a soul would almost inevitably draw exaltation of the more familiar sort more than once in its span. Such is certainly the case with the soul diverted from the loom of fate to form the animating intelligence of the agent called Iterator of Ordained Practices. In its time, it has seen and done many great things.
The lifetimes of mortals – faint and fleeting – provide only the vaguest of memories. Dating back to a time before the exalts, to the primordial World that Came Before, there are only flashes and thoughts. Fragments. A king, sitting his throne, governing with wise insight. A craftsman, hunched over his work bench, feverishly spilling ideas onto the page. A scholar, studying at the feat of powers he cannot comprehend, asking questions where none other would dare. A thousand, thousand lifetimes, sharing the common thread of independent spirit, and a quest for understanding.
The lifetimes of the dragon blooded, distinguished by their violence as well as their power, are clearer. Three stand out. First and eldest is the life of Cinders at Sunset, a warrior and officer in the service of the Solars during the Primoridal War. Second and of a similar era, though cut abruptly short, is the life of Siri Folding Leaf, assassin of gods, who lost her life in an attempt to infiltrate the auspices of Yu Shan. Third and finally is the life of Crystalline Spires, who lived in the time of the Great Contagion, and served as custodian of manses to the Seventh Legion in new-found Lookshy.
More distinct still are the lives of the celestial exalted with which the soul has bonded, each of them leaving an indelible mark on its very fabric, the scar of a wound synonymous with death. Numbering just two but each memorable in its own right, they are well defined from one another, and like the incarnations before and since, cleave close to the common themes that define the spirit.
In the golden age, after the fall of the primordials, he was the solar savant called Resonant Adan, second holder of the Singing Staff, master of the marble robe, whose geomantic prowess rivaled that of the fabled Kal Bax. By his art, the war manses of the Realm Defense Grid were architected, and from the seed of his inspiration the being called IAM was born and bound to serve the greater good of the utopian empire of the Lawgivers.
In the time after, born under the sign of the mask in the aftermath of the usurpation, the soul recalls the life of Song of Shadows, Chosen of Secretes, Ronin, Who spent her five hundred year span attempting to bring about a new order from the ruins of the old, and met her end at the blade of a luminous shadow – a night caste solar who had eluded death in the usurpation, and lost himself in madness – when her scheme threatened to finally stabilize terrestrial rule of the east.