This is a sample of what I'm doing with the Fox Magic Companion. I thought I'd share how it is being developed, and the first chapter involves fleshing out each of the breeds in greater detail -- providing additional abilities, bans, perks, and conditions that these foxes can get. It'll also talk about the ban they already possess, their duties, and the different ways each breed addresses these duties. :) I hope you find this interesting!
(And yes, I am looking for writers to help with the Companion... anyone interested?)
Pardon, young one? Oh, I am sorry. I was distracted. It is hard at times to keep my focus on the here and now. The Fortune of Honest Labour wished my attention, and had some suggestions for what I should say to you. You wish to know more of who we are and what we do, and he offered me some advice on the matter.
Yes, that is right. The Fortunes watch over you, as they do all of us. We are their voices in the world, you see, and they wish for us to do our duties well. This was part of our oaths to O-Inari you see, to be the vessel in which the gods can pour their wisdom so that it may be shared with those who need it. We are a connection between gods and humanity, and this sacred duty could be abused if the gods did not watch over us.
Your role is important, young one. Whether or not advice is asked of you, be ready to give it. Each of us have our place, and the place of the white foxes is to be a guide for the other breeds. This role may place you in the position of a den mother, but that is not where your strength lies. As a leader, others may wish to follow you without the thought of questioning your decisions – you have the gods to guide you! That is a foolish path, my child. It is not your place to keep wisdom for yourself, but to share with others. Allow another to lead, and provide them with your wisdom. Then they may choose for themselves. Not all advice is to be followed in the here and now, but may be stronger for being ignored, or simply considered and then discarded. Because it is there, it may again be considered later, and then bear fruit.
The voices of the greater kami may be confusing to us. Do not think that they are always right, or that we must follow them blindly. The gods offer us wisdom, but they also have their own desires and needs. You would do wise to listen to them, but try to discern the true intent of their words, rather than accepting their advice blindly. The gods do not see the world as we do, just as we do not see the world as humans do. The riddles and omens are not done to be cruel or to confuse, but is their view of the world filtered in a way that we can understand.
To provide you with a better perspective, consider this. If you attempt to describe a garden to a blind man, with all the colours and variations and details intact, the blind man may become confused. You speak of things that he can not see or understand. You may try to alter how you would describe the flowers, the sunlight, the interplay of light and shadow, but no matter how you say it, some things will seem alien to the blind man.
That is how the gods speak to us. We are blind to all that they know and experience, and they try their best to speak in a way we will understand. We have been chosen to try to discern meaning from the voices of the gods, and share that meaning with others. That is our sacred duty.
Have I answered your questions, young one? You mean you had not asked yet? Strange, I was certain I had heard you. Ah, perhaps it was one of the kami, acting to guide me in the best path of teaching. It happens at times. If you do have questions, however, come see me again.
Wisdom Gained is Wisdom Shared
It can be difficult to be the vessel of the gods. The byako are constantly surrounded by the voices of the kami, each providing omens and riddles for the byako to decipher, or speaking of those that the white fox has come across.
The byako are not the hand of the kami, that is the role of their darker brethren. Instead, she is the voice of the gods, speaking their words and providing what little context and meaning she can. The gods do not speak like normal men and women to the white foxes, but instead allow the byako to see the true world as the gods know it. It is the duty of the white foxes to take this information, understand it, and share it with those who come to her.
Speaking in Riddles
Try not to be too clever when you’re providing riddles and omens. The more you try to make it complex, the more it is likely not to apply to the game. Make it vague, and there will be a greater chance something will come along in the game and actually make sense.
For example, “beware the daffodil, the symbol of cowardice”. Does it mean a person who is selling daffodils? Someone who is wearing one? Or perhaps it means just the colour of yellow? Are you to beware them because they are your enemy, or is a friend going to betray you when you need them most? There are many ways you can make such an omen apply to the game, and this is a good thing, because as the voice of the kami, you want to be able to do your job.
If you said, “beware the man in yellow, for he will betray you through fear”, then you need to get a man in yellow in the scene, have the group accept him among their number, find a scene where said person will be terrified, then have him betray them. A lot of work, that. The more specific you are, the more work you have to do to have the omen or riddle come to pass. So, keep it simple, keep it vague, and give yourself some wiggle room.
As the voices of the gods, the byako often provide wisdom in the form of riddles, prophesy, and poetry. Symbolism is important to the white foxes, and each byako commonly develops a certain pattern, choosing traditional symbols that they prefer to use and which repeats in their duties. Older foxes are often identified by the imagery that will manifest in their poems and prophesies, and the work of famous byako are often collected by respectful fans.