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The Steel Faction
The Tapestry of Fate is an ever-woven force. Ages past, times change, and the world is never the same from one moment to the next. In the First Age, the world was a glorious and beautiful place, with incredible technology and magic. When the Solars fell, their light was extinguished, and that power was lost. However, it need not stay lost forever. The Second Age is drawing to close amidst ever-growing miracles, and with the proper guidance and controls, a new Age, even greater than the First for the average mortal, could well be at hand.
The Steel Faction of the Sidereals holds to these ideals. The world has changed drastically from what the Sidereals expected to happen at the end of the Usurpation, and outmoded theories must be set aside to allow a new world to grow. The Alchemicals, Lunars, the spread of the Dead, and the fickle Fair Folk should not simply be considered threats, but oppurtunities. With proper use, they can take the place long vacated by the Solars, and solve the ages-old dilemma of the Sidereals - safety with greatness.
The Steel Faction is slightly smaller than the Jade, numbering around thirty-five Sidereals at any given time. It also includes a decent number of elders, if not as many as the more conservative Jade. What these Sidereals lack in power and experience, they make up for with ambition and risk-taking, however, which allows them to generally keep even with their larger rivals, and keeps a large number of spirits onside.
The Steel Faction has thus far proven better at luring young Sidereals over to their side. Younger Sidereals are more likely to support a state that strives for greatness than one which seeks only to preserve the status quo, and the Steel takes advantage of that. Still, they know the power of patience, and tend to move slowly and cautiously. After all, a Lunar in the Faction may be a powerful ally, but only if they can be controlled. Because of this, the Steel counts a small number of Lunars, and an even smaller number of Alchemicals, Fair Folk or ghosts as open allies. More often, they manipulate such beings the way the Jade manipulates the Immaculate Order.
The Steel Faction has power across the world, but they are strongest in areas which are more progressive. At the moment, they are actually supporting the Shogunate remaining fractured, as it allows them to further a number of long-term experiments and plans. Their power centres, in particular, are the Balmori Republic and the Western League, although they have strong influence in New Estasia and struggle for Chiaroscuro with the Jade.
The Balmori Republic is the first great experiment of the Steel Faction. Here, the Dragon-Blooded remain in control, while other supernatural forces are gradually allowed in. The Steel Faction's influence in Balmori is focused on the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, and quietly culls any supernaturals deemed dangerous. The Steel Faction here remains in contact with the Undercities, and has explained the nature of the Bureau to the Lunar elders, along with a request to keep the Lunars out of it until the effects of other supernaturals can be determined. For now, the Lunars are playing along.
The Western League is designed as a more free-flowing society, where any force is welcome. Until recently, this was not seen as a major concern, and the League's power worldwide has been limited to keep this true. The return of the Solars has many Steel Faction Sidereals concerned, however, and they may change their stance on the League. If they do, they know that they are in for a fight: the hands-off approach used on the League has left it dangerously free-standing and difficult to manipulate.
By comparison, the Sidereals walk softly in New Estasia. Powerful Alchemicals can tell when they are being played with, and the Sidereals still worry about what these Exalts might do if they entered Yu-Shan and started playing with the Loom. Therefore, as little power is used to affect Alchemicals as possible.
Like the Jade faction, the Steel faction is primarily made up of the Bureau of Destiny. Elder members of the Faction are looked up to, but more leeway tends to be given to those who make mistakes, as long as the character tried well to reach the best possible choices. It is more likely that the Steel faction will punish those who cause problems by being too cautious and spending too much time trying to gather information than those who move before being entirely prepared.
Similarly, the Steel faction disdains Sidereals who are afraid to make use of all available resources, provided they are properly managed. Even such monsters as demons or Solar Exalts can be of use, provided they are appropriately bounded. The Steel faction is strongly opposed to a full-scale return of the Solars, feeling that they cannot be controlled in the long run, but if one or two Solars were manipulated and controlled, they would not be strongly opposed. Any Steel Sidereal doing such would have to prove that all safety steps were being taken. Lunar and Alchemical Exalts are much more likely to be worked with; they don't have the inherent dangers of the Solars, although many Steel Faction Sidereals still seek to manipulate them as a matter of course. Fair Folk and ghosts have to be dealt with carefully, but can serve as useful tools. The Steel Faction dislikes and distrusts the Deathlords, but is trying to find ways to deal with them as well. They recently sent an agent, the Green Lady, to infiltrate the Deathlords, but some fear that she has instead been corrupted and her information is not trustworthy.