|The Houses of the Order: House Strath
||[Dec. 9th, 2008|08:03 am]
The Ascension Community
©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)|
Current Size: 40 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus: Paolo Rocoterrio.
Principle Covenant: Grotio, a magickally hidden island some distance south of Astipalaía and north of Crete.
College: <Umbral> Hus Strath, a Realm the size and appearance of a small villa. <Physical> The sole entrance to Hus Strath is on Grotio, underneath the Arch Peridot.
History: Along with Tantanír, House Strath formed at the end of the Dynamic Period of the Order, marking a beginning of even greater conservatism in the face of the Church’s growing power.
Rasah Hamid Al-Huduhl was born a prince of Byzantium. It is said that one of his tutors was a Batini. Strong evidence suggests that his grandmother was a Hermetic scholar of House Baiu. At the age of 20 he had instituted educational reforms within his principality’s University, three years before having been formally introduced into the Hermetic Mysteries.
All in all, he was a diligent and curious scholar to the point of excluding many of his administrative duties. As he himself is recorded to have said, if his marriage had not been previously arranged, he would have remained single, not having had the time to court.
Marry he did, however, even if it occurred almost a decade later than traditionally expected due to the politics of the time. His wife, whose name translated to English meant “Subtle Waters”, was almost his opposite— severely practical in day to day life, barely literate, with a temper that quite belied her name. She was also a deeply spiritual woman. It was her influence that shaped her husband’s later philosophy.
Rasah was contacted by representative of House Theselus via an aristocratic Mystery cult called Arithmane Maza. The cult was more political than anything else, but an excellent place to converse openly with scholars of noble breed [and at that time, there were few of any other kind].
The life Rasah led for years afterwards was tossed pitilessly between his court, his apprenticeship, and his forthright wife. Despite the tremendous demands on his time, Rasah still managed to command a serious amount of political clout. Indeed, this power weighed heavily upon his conscience; he often wrote how much he doubted his own worthiness to wield such influence. His wife pulled at him to mind the basics of life and leadership, his master demanded his grasp of power for power’s sake, his court required a constant compromising of his remaining values. Rasah had an unbendable will, and like unbendable things under sustained pressure, Rasah’s shattered, instead.
Rasah wrote extensively about his Day of Insanity. It occurred during his Awakening. Not surprisingly, his mind snapped under the ecstatic gravity of his Epiphany combined with his guilt and responsibilities. Much of his account was either told to him by his wife or through scrying two years later. His most lucid moment was when he found himself sobbing before his wife, her look of abject shock mirroring the pain in his soul.
After recovering somewhat, he abandoned his court and, far more dangerously, his House to travel abroad with his bewildered wife, seeking in distant lands and searching in strange philosophies what he needed to find within. His wife struggled to support him even when she utterly failed to understand what he had done. They spoke for many many hours over many and varied subjects and, as Rasah ironically recalled, they finally grew to know each other. Nevertheless, after a year of traveling in self-imposed exile, she left him for a Greek merchant. Rasah acknowledged the practicality of the decision.
That his master did not kill him immediately upon his seeming abandonment of the Art is a tribute to his mentor’s wisdom and is quite un-Theselan. Very probably Rasah’s Destiny was accurately discerned and his movements watched carefully, but not seriously diverted.
Rasah became a man of the world. Books have been written concerning his trials and revelations. He was an old man by the standards of the time, in his forties, when he chose a new name for himself: Estrath-elik, or ‘Shattered Soul’ in Babylonian. Later he shortened it to simply Strath.
He had learned two lessons in his experiences—that since power does not imply moral worth, only those made worthy should be powerful; and, as his wife believed, power is useless without meaning, without the spiritual.
House Strath started as something quite similar in most ways to the Theselan ideal, but with an emphasis on rigorous testing of courage and honor, as well as the search for spiritual meaning. After Strath’s death at age fifty-one, his teachings were held in a near-religious esteem by his followers and students.
It took one hundred and fifty years for House Strath to be officially recognized by the other Houses as one of their league. There was great difficulty up to that time to accept a ‘House’ that had been founded by a so-called Hermetic that had not even completed a proper Discipleship.
Today, over a millennium later and through great turmoil, House Strath is considered a staunch and conservative political force within the Order, soundly respected as the House with the mightiest influence in the Umbral Courts of the Celestine.
Philosophy: Honor and courage are very worthy values; Strathan mages can actually see those qualities within their apprentices and, like sharpening a knife, make sure those qualities are honed to a fine edge. They have to be... the word of a mage of this House is literally his bond. All Strathan mages have a potent Ritual performed upon them at the time of becoming a Disciple that ensures any word is the truth, any sworn promise is deliberately broken upon pain of death.
This sits well with the eldritch nobility of the Umbral Courts, as one might imagine. Certainly, it is the reason why so few Strathans deal with the dark and ignoble folk of the Material World and assemble so readily with the spirits of the High Umbra. House Strath is arguably the least involved with earthly affairs, although their political dealings within the Order are active to say the least. House Strath does indeed fight the Ascension War, but it does so largely from the Umbra.
All mages of House Strath must have a rating of three or higher in Spirit Lore, even if they do not have training in the Spirit Sphere, though most do. All Awakened members are held by the Bond Ritual mentioned above—a four point Flaw. A rating in Linguistics is required, as is a rating in Etiquette and Cosmology.
Goals: “Find the meaning of the Mysteries in the only worthy places to look—within oneself and beyond the Material. Cultivate alliances with the creatures of higher thought and ideals. Find your power.”
Ritual Items: Quartz sphere, torch, scroll, oaken or ashwood staff.