The Bannerbearers Character in The Inbound Lands | World Anvil

The Bannerbearers

  The Bannerbearers, or Bannermen, are figures from The Courts of the Kings , and part of Pa'xo'Anman storytelling traditions centering the Lunar Cycle.   They represent the First Quarter moon (who carries the banners of the Red King) and the Last Quarter Moon (who carries the banners of the White King).

Divine Domains

The Bannermen are the messengers of the Kings, and thus represent transition, change, adjustment, and calls to action. They carry the messages of one Court to the other, attempting to trade information, broker peace, or announce war.   While the other four secondary figures are more loosely tied into the general narrative structure (i.e., the lunar cycle does not necessarily reflect their appearances in narrative order, and rituals to these, while most powerful during their phases, can be assumed at any time within the lunar month), the placement of the Bannerbearers is firm: they directly represent the change in power and influence, and their appearance marks the shift in magical ritual.

Divine Symbols & Sigils

Bannermen are associated with flags, of either red or white given the phase, and are attired appropriate to their Court. They are neither male or female and can be depicted as either, or disguised by armor.

Physical Description

Apparel & Accessories

Bannerbearers of the White King are generally depicted wearing all white or pale grey. They are shown with their features obscured by glazed ceramic masks, whose design usually references a skull (or is left blank and featureless), and which is sometimes topped with owl feathers. They carry a long white banner in the form of a windcatcher, whose orifice is formed by a skull mounted on the top of the tall pole. When journeying, they are said to be accompanied by owls and other nightbirds.   Bannerbearers of the Red King are generally depicted as wearing all red and black. The mask that they wear is generally of shaped, carved wood, often with a cloth draped or hung to obscure the bottom features, and is sometimes topped with cardinal or crow feathers, or a topper made of bunched grasses. They carry a long vertical banner, in plain red cloth, attached to a tall pole. When riding, they are said to be accompanied by fireflies.   Both are usually described as marching to their destination (solo or in groups), but are sometimes described as riding herses, an extinct four-legged beast with the long legs of a deer, the tail of a fox, the graceful neck of a goose, the pointed nose of a wolf, the stout body of a goht, and the smooth fur of a cat. In times when rainclouds obscure the first and last quarter moons, it is said that these are the times that the bannermen ride, and the thunder is the sound of the herse hooves crossing the skies, to deliver particularly urgent missives on the battlefields.  

Influence on contemporary culture

The attire of the Bannermen of the Red King is said to influence the garb of Blazes along the Process Way, while the grey is said to influence the uniforms of the Guardians along the way.

Mental characteristics

Intellectual Characteristics

In ancient stories, these messengers were killed by the angry Kings upon delivering their missives. In more recent tales or in those told to children, the messenger is brainwashed, hypnotized, persuaded, threatened, or otherwise converted to the cause of a particular Court; as the new phase approaches, they don the colors of their new masters, and begin the journey to the next Court to deliver the message of their current King.   Regardless of how the end of the tale is told, when described in storytelling, encounters with the Bannermen show them as single-minded servants, who rarely stop on their journey. Should they pause, they tend to speak in simple reply or not at all, said to save their words for their masters lest they give away their messages too soon. A clever traveler may be able to tease the message out of them through trickery, but sometimes at great cost either in the moment or by a later karmic due. Bannerbearers rarely interfere with Fastwater affairs, but have been noted to sometimes interfere in mortal events for some unknown, greater purpose.
Divine Classification
Lunar Deity

Cover image: Kkaxe River banner by M Kelley


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