From A Children's Primer of the Way

The Path of Ambition

Though many citizens associate the Virtue of Ambition with an eye on a senator’s seat or even the Imperial Throne, this path embraces many subtler expressions also. The artisan who aspires to create something never before seen; the merchant who strives to be wealthier than any other; the youth who aspires to forbidden love – all may be guided by Ambition to turn their dreams to reality. There are as many Ambitions as there are citizens who can dream of them, though not all possess the strength of purpose, character and will to pursue the Path of Ambition to its fullest, for the cost of doing so is often high.

Guidance on the Path

Through meditation on the auras of Ambition, and study of the lives of paragons and exemplars, the priests of the Way have gleaned insight into the heart of the virtue and how best to pursue it. There are collections of parables, tales, sayings and teachings that distil this for Imperial citizens to learn from. The following are a handful of teachings and sayings deemed to be essential to understanding the path:

  • Aim high; pursue your dreams; nothing is beyond your grasp.
  • Even the most impenetrable forest may fall one tree at a time.
  • Consequences are the price of Ambition; no price is too high to realise your dreams.
  • It is better, by far, to try and fail, than fail to try.
  • Despise the weakness that comes from pettiness and lack of vision.

Paragons and Exemplars

Recognised paragons and exemplars of Ambition include:

  • The paragon Tian, who legend claims ascended the highest mountain in all creation to steal fire from the sun.
  • The paragon Aldones di Sarvos, one of the founders of the League.
  • The exemplar Atuman of the Highborn, who led his people to the shores of Highguard.
  • The exemplar Adelmar the Lion, founder of the School of Arms and an inspiration to weapon masters throughout the Empire.

Symbols of Ambition

Ambitious Design.jpg
Both the Throne and the Imperial Crown are powerful symbols of Ambition in the Empire.

One of the most common symbols of Ambition used in the Empire is flame. This is not only symbolic of the quest Tian undertook to steal the fire of the sun, but fire possesses many of the qualities of purest ambition. It is ever hungry and never satisfied, for the moment it is satisfied, it dies. Some pilgrims of Ambition even go as far as to burn a brand on their arm or hand in recognition of the price Tian paid or as a reminder of how dangerous Ambition can be.

In Wintermark, ambition is often signified by a rook, while in Varushka the virtue is associated with the cunning fox, and (in recent times) the wily hare. The rune Naeve, which represents hunger, is used by some magicians as a symbol of Ambition.

For obvious reasons the throne is a common symbol associated with ambition - indeed the physical throne that stands in the Imperial Senate is sometimes seen as one of the most profound symbols of ambition in the Empire representing as it does the most potent Imperial title. For similar reasons, a crown (along with other regalia of high office) is sometimes used as a symbol of ambition in Dawn. This image no doubt originated as a reference to the old monarchs of that nation, and later the actual Imperial crown worn by every Throne since the foundation of the Empire.

The mountain is also sometimes used as a symbol of ambition, or rather of the obstacles one must overcome to achieve one's goals. Tian climbs a mountain, after all, in her pursuit of fire. In Urizen the astronomantic constellation of the Mountain is sometimes used as an icon of ambition representing as it does the universal law that things are not easy. In a similar vein, in some parts of the League, the ladder is used as a slightly tongue-in-cheek icon of ambition, most likely having its roots in the rambunctious street-dramas of Tassato and Sarvos.

During the Spring festival celebrated in Urizen, Ambition is represented by a purple flower.

Further Reading

  • You can learn about the various spiritual roleplaying effects created by priests dedicated to Ambition here.
  • You can learn about the skills that priests can use to spread the virtue of Ambition here.

The Seven Virtues