Anyway... Conclavers.

Most Conclavers are either Rogues or Dropouts. A Rogue is someone who never joined any of the other big groups. They either got reaped by a Freewraith or Ferryman or escaped from the slaver train some other way, and then they either found their way to a Conclave, or else a Conclaver spotted them and took them in. And it's a more common occurrence than you might think, too: most reapers are stupid fucks who don't pay attention to where they put the keys, or are willing to let one fish go as long as they got the whole rest of the school on the line.

Dropouts are just what you'd expect from the name. They're people who did belong to one of the big groups and just left. Maybe they got sick of the Hierarchy's bullshit, maybe they discovered what they wanted to know from the Guild and didn't want to pay dues anymore, and maybe life in the Anti-Everything Everywhere Coalition or the Cult of Manos didn't turn out to be what they thought. So they pull a runner and try to get in someone else's train, but a lot of times they wind up in a Conclave.

The really good dropouts are the ones who faked their own second deaths. It's easy if you know how: you get assigned to Tempest Patrol or volunteer for some dumb, suicidal mission... like going after something in the deserts? You arrange to have your fetters moved, if you can, or you make damn sure no one important knows where or who your fetters are and pray to almighty God that no one important near you is a Monitor.

Then, as soon as you can, soon as you're ready, you ditch everyone and make a bee-line for some back-door Masquer, get a face lift, and disappear. Make a new name, make a new unlife, get a new Pardoner and make some new friends while you're at it. After a while they stop looking for you, and as long as you or your Shadow don't do anything stupid, you're golden.

Of course, something else to remember is that a lot of Dropouts didn't drop so much as they ran. There's a lot of wanted fugitives here... Guildsmen who learned too much or Renegades who escaped the pratfall their "comrades" set up for them to take the heat from their beloved revolutionary leader. We got ex-Legion DM violators galore, too, as if you couldn't figure that out.

The other kinds of folks aren't too numerous but they're worth noting. Rejects and Aspirants kind of go hand in hand. Most of them were, and still are, Heretics at heart. The difference between the two is that a Reject is someone who got slung out on their ass as a punishment for a time and is trying to get back on their good graces if possible, and an Aspirant has "seen the light" and wants to start a show of his own, but there's no takers yet so he slums with us.

So okay, wise guy, they're really Heretics. But they're here and they're contributing so what are you going to say? No? Like I said, we can smell our own. Take old Byron there..., one day he dared ask the wrong question to the Maharaji and they all turned on his ass faster than you could say "splitter." That was fifty years ago. The Maharaji's been replaced ten times over and no one there remembers old Byron anymore, but he's still waiting for a sign of forgiveness. He's pathetic. He's going nowhere. He's us.

And speaking of pathetic, look over there. See the little girl and the little boy playing with dolls?

That's right. Child ghosts. We call them Kinder. If it were up to the Hierarchy, any kid who came over to this side of things would wind up as a coin. The Deathlords, in their sickening wisdom, figure that kids can't handle their Shadows and are, therefore, a danger to the public at large. So you see a kid, you drag it off to the forges and get your money. It sucks but that's death, right? Today's underage Enfant is tomorrow's Spectre, so you either smelt them now when they can't fight back or smelt them after they've wasted ten of your buddies.

Of course, that's dogshit. We see a kid, we do our damndest to get it off the streets and down to the nearest Conclave as quick as we can. We make sure someone looks after their dark side, explain as much of the picture to them as they can handle, and make them full members of the Conclave as soon as they're mentally able to handle it. I mean, a dead kid's gonna look like a dead kid forever without some Moliation, but sooner or later their mind grows up even if their bodies don't. We just gotta nurse them over the rough spot.

And then, how well do most grown-ups here handle death?