…a deck of playing cards, in the typical Imperial style used for ómith and for some sub-games of kírasseth, contains 96 cards. 72 of these make up the six suits of twelve cards each, each with its particular elemental association: the suit of clouds, representing air and steam; the suit of coins, representing metal; the suit of droplets, representing water and oil; the suit of flames, representing fire and lightning; the suit of pillars, representing stone and clay; and the suit of staves, representing wood and crystal.
The remaining 24 cards are the symbolic cards, which represent the darëssef, and other important archetypes and forces in the classical eldraeic conception of the universe, which they represent in the play of kírasseth upon the Board of Archetypes; in most other games, they are assigned various values as the game in question requires. The symbols associated with them have also been used for the communication of messages subtle and unsubtle.
1. THE WANDERER
A newcomer walks down a shuttle’s landing ramp, and gazes in wonder at the world laid out before him, heedless of directional arrows or passing traffic. Officials with documents to sign await him at the base of the ramp, but for now, there are only the possibilities to come.
2. THE GATEWAY
The spherical distortion of a wormhole is contained within the bounding framework of its stargate, seen against a background of stars. In the foreground, a silver-skinned rocket hurtles towards it, making hard burn across the transition point.
3. THE TECHNARCH
The technarch stands in his workshop, terminal, nanoforge, and automata lying on the table before him. Among the fanciful machinery that surrounds him, all the elements are harnessed, in boiler and clockwork, pipe and furnace. Crowned with lightning, with his tools at his command, the power to shape the world is his.
4. THE ACQUIESCENT
The blue-robed acquiescent sits before a pool under the light of the moon, gazing at the shimmering script within its waters. Around her, petitioners gather, ready with pen and scroll to copy down the wisdom she finds there. In the background, others read from older scrolls to gathered audiences.
5. THE CONTRACT
An open scroll, covered in script and seals, fills the background, held in the hand of a grey-cloaked obligator. Before it, two men sit on either side of a balance scale, facing each other, loosely bound to each other by chains of glass. At each’s back, there are piles of gold, jewels, machines, baskets of fruit, and other goods.
6. THE RÚNER
A man with black curls and a blonde woman in robes of white and gold share a grand throne, the carved heads of six aman (dragons) surrounding them. They wear the symbols of their authority – crown, chain, and signet – and robed ministers attend them. In the foreground, a petitioner stands to address the throne, unbowed and unafraid.