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Aura List, Revised [Jan. 4th, 2009|02:29 pm]
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The Latin is fake, for the most part (some of it is even kind of Greek).

Expanded Aura TablesCollapse )
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Auras Perceived [Jan. 2nd, 2009|11:44 pm]
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In my ongoing effort to differentiate the Traditions and to emphasize the overarching power of Paradigm, I created this description of how each Tradition perceives the information they receive through the Awareness Talent.

©1996 onetarot (modified in 2009)


Another Matter of Perception

          Akashic Brethren see emotions and physical states not as auras but as a complex series of golden energy lines running through the body.  The patterns of the lines and the points at which they meet tell the Brother the physical and mental state of the subject. 
          Verbena and Cultists of Ecstasy see colorful auras, usually multi-layered and deceivingly complex.  The also can sense vortices of color at specific points; Verbena are particularly adept at interpreting these Chakras. 
          Dreamspeakers see the imprints of spirits and totems like masks, "footprints" and shimmering natural images. 
          Euthanatos actually see the subject as they truly are, at least to a degree.  If someone were deeply depressed but acting happy, the Euthanatos would perceive an illusion of the person’s true state, i.e. the subject’s words would sound pitiable instead of cheerful; the happy demeanor would appear warped or false. 
          The Celestial Chorus hear tones in the air that tell them volumes about the person they are concentrating on. 
          Complex Latin words pop into the heads of some of the Order of Hermes when they scry with Awareness.  Others see graphic formula such as numistrophic diagrams, hagiarcs and magic squares. 
          Not surprisingly, the Virtual Adepts and the Sons of Ether rely at first on their machines to detect the electromagnetic fields around living things.  Virtual Adepts do it “naturally” on the Digital Web if their Awareness is high enough.  The Sons often use so-called Kirlian technology, a process they invented and the Technocracy stole (or so the Sons say).

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The Houses of the Order: House Xavieri [Dec. 29th, 2008|11:25 pm]
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And the Nephandi hunters round out the list.  For those who tuned in late, this is the 13th of the Houses of the Order as I had conceived of them (more or less) back in the day.

Thank you for the space.

©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)

House Xavieri
Current Size:  23 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus:  Chance Edwards.
Principle Covenant:  Ankara, Turkey.
College:  Ankara, Turkey.
History:  Antoine Xavieri was born in the autumn of 905 CE to the Baron and Lady Xavieri, landlords of about thirteen square miles of terrain just north of Italy.  His parents had a strong reputation as devil worshipers by the locals, a rumor helped to persist by the fact that, indeed, they were exactly that.
When Antoine was twelve he discovered the truth behind those tales when he witnessed an elaborate rite proceeding in the underground hall of the keep.  While his parents were infernalists, their soft spot was for their only son and they had tried to shield him from their beliefs and rationalizations.  So when, peering down into the murk where he had always been forbidden to go, Antoine witnessed the rape and sacrifice of a wandering vagabond, it left an indelible mark of horror on his psyche.
The boy ran and sought refuge in a relatively remote monastery several days later.  The monks were outraged at the lad’s story and escorted him to the castle of Count Josef, a well-respected lord of learning and piety.  It was not until three months later that Antoine Xavieri learned of his parent’s deaths at the hands of terrified locals and priests.  It is reported that he cheered when he heard the news.
Xavieri might very well have become a Chorister if it were not for the Count being an Adept of House Ptaminici.  He took the promising young man under his wing and gradually taught him the knowledge necessary to understand and learn the greater truths of life.  Xavieri was not used to this, but he undertook it with zeal as it helped detach him from his previous life and set him into his new one.
He Awakened around the age of seventeen, reportedly while “looking at an old woman pulling up carrots”.  The Epiphany was stirring and profound, his Avatar appearing to him as the Archangel Gabriel.
Xavieri grew into a man enraptured with the music of the spheres yet tormented by the images of his parents’ evil.  Of no surprise to his Mentor, Xavieri investigated reports of infernalism, even sought the corruption out from the world around him.  He took every confirmed instance personally and tried to make sure that it never repeated.  He became a kind of crusader, but one fortunately tempered by a need for certain knowledge.
So successful, or at least so respected was he at his calling that his King granted him knighthood when Xavieri was twenty-four.  He was granted his own relatively small estate and became the most pursued bachelor within the kingdom.  Still, as his Art was considered to be blasphemous by the Church (an irony of which he wrote frequently), he shied away from interpersonal relations and instead sharpened his demon-hunting skills.
Aside from an odd phobia of crows and ravens, Xavieri repeatedly proved that his skill, fortitude, and moral righteousness was the finest in the land; he inspired many a tavern tale with his adventures.  Today, his life reads very like a legend from fantasy.
As happens when a mage walks too far into the “sunlight” of Sleeper perception, Xavieri attracted a following that had neither his patience nor his erudition.  Squads of witch-hunters roamed the lands in his name, trying to further the cause in the only way they thought they could.  Naturally, this brought a stain upon his reputation in the eyes of the Masses, and he felt he could do nothing but vanish from history in order to halt the damage.  His movement to the “underground” had the desired effect; near-atrocities ceased being held in his name.  Unexpectedly, he instead attracted a different following, that of his fellow mages.  At the age of thirty-three he was the centerpiece of a House Ptaminici cabal devoted to the revelation of Infernalism amongst the people of the lands.
Again, he became widely held as a champion, this time with the Hermetics.  His cabal was steadfast and reputable.  They identified the Nephandi as a separate evil from other Infernalists.  So repulsed by this “new” evil were they that the Nephandi became their primary targets.  Decades passed, and the cabal shifted in membership but not in quality.  By the time Xavieri was sixty, the cabal called The Order of the Sun was renown throughout the Old World.  It had also grown into a force of fifteen Awakened and seventy Acolytes spread over a quarter of Europe.  At the suggestion of one of his peers, Master Xavieri founded his own House.
Contrary to how these things usually work out, the House Xavieri of the modern world not only still exists in much the same form, but has managed to retain a virtually pristine reputation as exposers of the corrupt.  Mind you, they refrain from investigating the Order of Hermes...the other Houses would not stand for it...but instead venture outwards into the world (and often, quietly, within the other Traditions) in their search for Nephandic influences.  House Xavieri is one of the most respected of Houses within the Order.  How a reputation can be that untrammeled for so long is itself a mystery...
Philosophy:  Carefully and respectfully search for corruption... then pounce on it and tear its metaphorical throat out when you are certain you have found it.  Lately, one cabal has announced its mission has changed to include Marauder investigation.  Since the rest of the House seems to condone this change in direction if not actually follow it, the rest of the Order is not worried about a schism.
All members are required to possess at least one dot in Nephandi Lore, a Linguistics rating, a rating in either Culture or Enigmas, and at least a nine in Willpower.  House Xavieri mages are very rigorously trained.  Beginning characters may start with twenty freebie points instead of fifteen.  However, no Xavieri mage is allowed to have over a rating of one in the Entropy Sphere, ever.  To do so grants immediate branding and expulsion.  All mages of this House are considered to have a sterling reputation among other Hermetics unless proven otherwise.
Goals:  Believe it or not, this House practices a kind of surprising moderation:  they have no illusions about their ability to wipe the Nephandi off of the map.  The Fallen Ones have been on Earth for as far back as can be known.  Instead, and this may explain the House’s successes, they seek to sharply prune whenever they spy the growth of corruption, rather than waste sanity and resources on trying to remove all trace.  This relative lack of hubris is likely the key to the purity of their mission.  Hopefully, this will last.
Ritual Items:  pentacle or spiral, wooden bowl, glass beads, broadsword.
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The Houses of the Order: House Theselus [Dec. 21st, 2008|02:29 pm]
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©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)

House Theselus
Current Size:  55 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus:  Olga Yaslav Aleichem.
Principle Covenant:  Boston, Massachusetts.
College:  <Umbral> Trimortorius, a citadel within the infamously hostile Horizon Realm, Nepholsybym; <Physical> The primary entrance to Trimortorius is hidden inside a bizarre, even alien stone temple along the northern border of Guatemala.  A secondary entrance exists beneath the surface of Lake Mistassini in Quebec, Canada.
History:  Theselus, the mage (for that was the only name he is ever recorded as having used) was born of Roman nobility a few decades after the death of Christ.  Like many Hermetic Masters, he has warded the details of his history from the prying eyes of scrying mages, leaving his writings as the primary source of such knowledge.  Still, it is fairly clear that he had been a brilliant yet painfully eccentric man prone to violence and fits of melancholy.  He could not eat while someone was watching him.  In his later years he was an apoplectic opponent of anything or anyone Christian.  While it is quite common for Hermetic mages to have little time or energy to pursue romantic interests, Theselus was virtually asexual; indeed, it is rumored that he was born without functional genitalia.
In spite of these twists in his personality, or perhaps because of them, Theselus rapidly attracted the attention of both the Hermetics and of the proto-Solificati Alchemists.  In order to receive the best offer, Theselus played both groups against the other in the manner that later made him famous as a talented manipulator.  Eventually, Theselus joined as an apprentice at the age of twenty-three, first with the short-lived Followers of the Nocturnal Mysteries, then later with House Abbanthia (which later became House Riche in 370, then disappeared through attrition in 529).
He was an aggressive political mover and, almost paradoxically, a strong proponent for the greater dissemination of the Mysteries to the masses via literacy programs, a philosophy not generally associated with the historical Hermetics.  He studied war by making friends with and speaking at length to generals from several nations.  He became an active foe of Christianity as that movement grew, a cause that earned him a great many enemies but helped to further his political status with the other Hermetics.
Since House Abbanthia did not support his causes to the extent that he desired, it was inevitable that Theselus remove himself from that group, which he did upon becoming a Master in his late forties.  It is interesting to note that despite his aggressiveness and his political involvement, his separation from his House was reportedly amicable and uncomplicated.
As befit the beginning of the Dynamic Period, Theselus lobbied to form a new House.  Despite his charisma and oratorical skills, however, it was not to happen instantly.  His beliefs and eccentricities earned him few actual friends, and his political dealings prevented normally sympathetic mages from seeming to side with him by joining his cause.  Undaunted, Theselus set out to do what it turned out he did best—recruiting.  He made an attractive appeal to the younger mages that enraged some of his peers and impressed others.  After three years of hard but successful work he cashed in most of his political favors and officially declared House Theselus a reality.  The date was 109 CE.
Almost two millennia later the modern House has, incredibly, retained much of the philosophies of its founder.  House Theselus has, throughout its turbulent history, been one of the most aggressive, violent and martial of the Houses.  If House Lejunos are the Order’s tacticians, House Theselus are its master strategists, although that is not to imply they refrain from getting their hands dirty.  Unlike Lejunos, the modern Theselans have garnered a reputation, not altogether unjustly, for failing to pull back if their plans or actions harm innocents.
This reputation is kept from discrediting the House by two mitigating factors:  they are admired for their remarkably successful program of recruiting new mages into the Order; and, being the second-largest House, they swing a large political bat.
Philosophy:  House Theselus often gives the orders that Lejunos follows, as well as provides for fronts or missions that Lejunos cannot cover.  Theselans prefer to avoid close combat; their actions more closely resembling terrorism.  They are the generals, the recruitment officers, the spear thrust into the Technocracy’s collective armor.
They are also magnificent scholars and political activists.  Their dislike of the Celestial Chorus is a remnant of their founder’s rabid hatred; however, it has been greatly tempered by time and circumstance.
Theselan mages cherish the Sphere of Forces like no other House of the Order.  No Theselan mage leaves apprenticeship without an equivalent rating of two in that Sphere.  Beginning characters must assign two dots there when created (this is not a bonus, they get no extra Sphere dots or freebie points).  Linguistics is required, and a study of the art of war from a strategic viewpoint is strongly encouraged.  A minimum Willpower of six is necessary to be a mage of this House.  It should also be noted that few if any of the Caregiver Nature exist here.
Goals:  The defeat of the Technocracy’s more targetable activities through intimidation, warfare, and terrorism is the most visible goal of this House.  Also, they make significant strides to recruit and/or indoctrinate mages into the Order, with about a third of those so taken joining House Theselus.  Other Houses recruit, too, of course, but Theselans are the best at it, if only through sheer temerity.
Ritual Items:  A shield with a lion issuant, chalice, silver chain, dirk or dagger.
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The Houses of the Order: House Tantanír [Dec. 14th, 2008|10:39 pm]
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The events comprising the fall of Court Libertari to the Void Marines were actually played out as a small part of a 2 1/2 year Mage Chronicle.

©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)

House Tantanír
Current Size:  28 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus:  Christopher Harris Struensee.
Principle Covenant:  Paris, France.
College:  None (see History).
History:  Constantinople is looked upon by modern Hermetics with mixed feelings.  It represents to them the city that should not have existed, had the Roman Empire proceeded as planned.  On the other hand, the city was a center for Hermetic teachings for five centuries, starting when it was known as Byzantium; it spawned numerous mages from its libraries and courthouses, as well as two Houses of the Order:  Strath and Tantanír.
The founder of the latter House was a fiery Muslim woman who called herself Taha Tanir (later ‘Hermeticised’ to Tantina, then Tantanír).  She kept her birth name a great secret, which had been efficiently done due to the powerful Arcane she developed when she had Awakened at the age of fourteen. 
She quickly became a Muslim in name only as she threw aside her religious beliefs as grossly inferior to the, to her, obvious might of the True Mysteries.  Her late teens were spent in the ‘arms’ of House Dædelus where she learned at a voracious pace.  Knowledge was a heady brew for her, it always would be, and her exuberant writings on the subject epitomize her intense personality.  She apparently received a potent vitality from the very act of learning; notes of her training comment on numerous times she studied for weeks without food or discernible rest.
She made Adept within six years, and was a Master of Forces and Matter within fifteen.  She also cultivated a keen sense of the aesthetic by taking up sculpture with close to the same zeal as she practiced magick.  Her art became widely known and appreciated within the Hermetic community.  Even Sleepers grew to marvel at her sculptures, although they rarely understood the nature of the artist.
As a Master, when she was not trying to further the cause of art within the Art, she was taking a direct hand in Sleeper affairs.  According to Tradition history, she single-handedly decimated the Olimatre army in the now-forgotten Battle of Olimatria (a Byzantine defensive) in 488.
She was quick tempered, frighteningly intense, terribly elitist, and one of the premier mages of the 5th and 6th Centuries.  When she grew frustrated at her House’s unwillingness to grant art the same status as architecture within their philosophy, she pulled aside her cabal and her abundant followers and set forth on her own.  Thus was House Tantanír born.
At the beginning, and indeed for the first two hundred years, the new House embodied much of the same spark and aggressiveness as its founder.  After her unsurprising death due to Paradox at age 102, the House very gradually cooled, like a volcanic rock, into a slower and more moderate assemblage.
The dawn of the Technocracy saw House Tantanír become introspective and even quiet, allowing the more dynamic Houses of the time to carry the banner of war.  Rather, they continued to teach and inspire the artists of the time.  Leonardo da Vinci was either a Sleeper or an Orphan (some even suggest a member of the Order of Reason), not a Hermetic, but his paintings were clearly influenced by this House’s philosophies.
In the late 18th Century, a cabal of Tantanír mages began in earnest to discover the truth behind the nature of vampires after they identified a supernatural counter-influence in the fine art community of France.  The success of their venture was debatable; nevertheless, it created a House-wide desire to continue this work into the modern day.  A secondary path of study to be sure, but it is safe to say that of the Hermetic Order, House Tantanír has the greatest collection of treatises and essays on the subject of the Undead.
The House had a College Chantry until quite recently, named Court Libertari.  Its secret entrance was located just outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico in the United States.  In 1997 the Technocracy in the form of the Void Marines took over the college in an admirably bloodless offensive, capturing a few of the students and simply letting the overwhelmed and bewildered majority go to find their own way.  The Order of Hermes was galled at the ease of the takeover and still suspects an inside job, although the Dean of the college has not yet been called to trial.
Philosophy:  All mages of this House must pursue some form of art:  essay writing, poetry and fiction are the most popular ones of the modern day, with the material arts a close second and music a distant but fairly respected third.  Linguistics is a required area of study.  Disciples may actually have a Vampire Lore score of up to three when starting out, although not all Tantanír mages concern themselves with such pursuits.  The Spheres of Life and Matter are popular secondary areas of education.  Few Tantanír mages concern themselves with any martial concerns beyond basic self-defense; a probable contributor to the ease of the Technocratic assault on Court Libertari.
Goals:  Expose the Masses to simple but inspirational philosophies via the art of the time.  Develop an appreciation of all forms of art within the more learned of the Sleeper societies.  Implant some of the Lesser Mysteries in music, verse, and material art.
Ritual Items:  The Seal of Solomon, quill, book, wax tablet and stylus, lyre, iron ring.
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The Houses of the Order: House Strath [Dec. 9th, 2008|08:03 am]
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©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)

House Strath

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.
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The Houses of the Order: House Sauximes [Dec. 3rd, 2008|10:16 pm]
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©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)

House Sauximes

Current Size:  44 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus:  Csavetia Linause Sykes.
Principle Covenant:  A mansion between Salem, New Hampshire (not Massachusetts) and the so-called “American Stonehenge”, north-northwest of Salem.
College:  Manchester, New Hampshire.
History:  Embrotos Sauximes, while never a Dædelan mage as such, was strongly inspired by their philosophy [as well as their founder].  Originally a Helionic Alchemist in the service of some obscure Carthaginian noble, Sauximes fell upon the writings of Dædelus quite by accident during a research expedition to Greece.  Ironically, it is said that Sauximes did not at first ascribe much value to the writings, dismissing them as “fantastical”.  It was not until months later, when the alchemist had his famous dream in which it is generally believed his Avatar spoke to him, that Sauximes perceived the essential truth to the great architect’s words.  The Epiphany struck with such force he bolted out of bed and ran yelling into the woods.
Sauximes crafted a complex amalgam of Dædelan teachings, alchemy, and sun worship over a period of a decade.  His extremely intelligent blending of such diverse belief systems created a smooth and logical doctrine that appealed to many mystics of the time.  The development of the mind and the importance of mental discipline emerged as an almost natural outgrowth of the doctrine.  Without actually setting out to do so, Sauximes had founded a branch of essentially Hermetic study, strongly based in form and language, that naturally spoke to those still struggling with the “hows” of learning.
If House Dædelus was the foundation of the Mind of the modern Hermetic Order, then House Sauximes [as it was eventually called] formed the Will.  Together with the now extinct House Nikolos, they created the beginnings of the culture that later became the Roman Empire, including the distillation of Latin from their own mystickal language.
Today, it is instilling that drive to learn that is House Sauximes’ main goal.  While they certainly cooperate with Houses Ptaminici, Benecia and Theselus, among others, in the manipulation of the world’s cultures, House Sauximes concentrates its collective skill on the many of Earth’s learning institutions.  The mages of this House are particularly adept at the politics of education, higher and lower, and fight constant subtle battles with the New World Order and the Syndicate over the direction of educational policies.
Another interesting, if secondary, emphasis of this House is astrology, a focus developed over the last five centuries.  While many Houses practice astrological divination, Sauximes aggressively advocates the discipline to Sleepers.  If one ever had cause to wonder why, in a Technocratically dominated industrialized country such as the United States, an astrology column appears in most every newspaper...one need wonder no more.
Philosophy:  “Learning is not merely a skill, it is a rare skill.  It is a skill that is difficult yet most rewarding to cultivate...a skill necessary to understand even the lesser of the True Mysteries.  The Technocracy claims to promote the cause of learning, yet bows to its baser nature by allowing its grotesque invention “television” to dismantle literacy and soften minds to slag.  We will not allow this.  One path of many to the True Mysteries is by interpretation of the sky’s secrets, presented before each and every person not blinded by the city lights of the Technocrats.”
Sauximesian mages do not practice any one Sphere to the exclusion of others, although they are still taught that the command of Forces is one measure of understanding.  Instead, they are concerned with every and all aspects of learning; they are consummate scholars, even compared to the rest of the Order, and magnificent teachers.  Knowledges are always Primary with characters from this House, as are Mental Traits.  Sauximesian mages must have at least a two in Instruction.  In addition, they must possess a rating in Linguistics and at least three Lore Knowledges.
Mages of this House are rarely fighters.  Even the Masters of Forces are hardly ever seen displaying such knowledge outside of a classroom or certámen court.  This House has a deserved reputation for understatement and quiet action.  They get along very well with House Benecia, whom they consider to be a branch of Sauximes, although they never say this to their faces.
Goals:  House Sauximes struggles to reform educational systems around the world, turning them away from the excesses of the Technocratic paradigm.  This House will often influence textbook publishers as well, and one chantry has significant input over some of the programming of the BBC in England and PBS in the United States.
Ritual Items:  The Seal of Solomon, the Golden Rectangle, gold coin, quill, chalice.
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The Houses of the Order: House Rodin [Nov. 30th, 2008|01:03 pm]
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This House made for fine antagonists and plot devices, used sparingly. 

©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008) 

House Rodin
Current Size:  20 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus:  Izanagi Takeshita.
Principle Covenant:  Fukuyama, Japan.
College:  None.
History:  Like most of the Houses today, House Rodin is both very old and quite unlike what it had started out to be.  Master Rodin began as the son of a Roman slave and grew to be a vocal and bitter detractor of the Empire.  Hunted as a renegade and a criminal, Rodin nevertheless made important friends in his constant travels, often with cultists of the various Mystery religions that dotted the Mediterranean countryside.  Through them he fed his unquenchable need for learning, for he knew that through learning came power.  Rodin saw Rome as a poisonous fungus spreading over the once mighty tree that was the wisdom of Greece.  Unfortunately, his friends and enemies both claimed Rodin to be grossly delusional if he thought he could somehow direct the grinding juggernaut that was Rome.  Rodin objected neither to the concept of slavery nor the right of an enlightened state to conquer and educate the barbarians.  Instead, he strongly believed that Rome’s foundations had been weakened by many years of ignorance and decadence. 
Rodin had been hiding in a secluded valley located in what today would be southern Switzerland with a Mercury cult when he caught the interest of a Sauximes mage named Fortinus.  Naturally, the mage was impressed with the spirit and desire for change that he had witnessed in the now 22 year old rebel.  Over a period of a season Fortinus opened Rodin’s perceptions to the True Mysteries.  Rodin was so overwhelmed with this dawning perspective that the news of Rome’s origins was merely another drop in the bucket.  The knowledge that the Roman Empire had started as a grand experiment designed by Mystickal Architects and Master Philosophers was also tempered by the fact that those same Masters believed the experiment was being polluted by barbarian influences and internal corruption.
Thus was born Rodin, the mage.  While he had been enraptured by the idea of Rome’s creation, he always harbored the belief (sometimes secretly, oft times not) that the whole thing was dissolving into chaos, especially after Caligula had been assassinated and his invidious excesses had been made generally known.
Thus was born Rodin, the House.  Admittedly despairing of their grand project yet tired of Rodin’s opinions, House Sauximes endeavored to assassinate the character of the mage by painting him as a base rebel and a (proto) Celestial Chorus sympathizer.  Furious with his colleagues yet powerful enough now to stand his ground, Rodin gave one last speech before his Council that scorched their motives and brilliantly summed up the failings of their collective vision.  His oratory was a large stone in the pool of Hermetic philosophy and is generally thought to be the blow that started the Dynamic Period in Hermetic history.  As a final punctuation to his words, Rodin gathered up his devotees and left to start his own House of the Order.
If anything from that time carried through to the modern House, it is the spirit of subversion that defined Rodin’s life.  Today, however, it is the Technocracy that is the Roman Empire.  The mages of House Rodin seem to share the belief that it was the Order of Hermes’ pride and meddling that directly created the Order of Reason; indeed, some Rodin mages quietly affirm that the Technocracy is the abhorrent end result of a second Grand Experiment, a deliberate creation run horribly amuck like some worldwide Frankenstein’s monster.  Largely for that reason, House Rodin is only barely tolerated by the rest of the Order, and vice versa.
The modern House is well known for its collective skill at infiltration, particularly of the Progenitors and the Void Engineers.  This is difficult to confirm, however, as Rodin mages are infamous for their extreme secrecy and distrust of anyone outside of the House.  Rumors continually circulate concerning vampiric or Nephandic corruption within the House.
Philosophy:  Being the black sheep of the Order certainly allows for some freedom, if not friends.  House Rodin mages participate in Order business only when necessary.  This insular nature has only grown worse in the last century, to the point where the rest of the Order knows more about the activities of their fellow Traditions than that of House Rodin.  This is because Rodin mages are convinced that the Hermetic Order is an unknowing but important pawn of the Technocracy as a whole.  They believe the other Houses are riddled with spies.  Indeed, the modern Order only exists today as an inroad for the Technocrats into the workings of the Council of Nine, according to House Rodin. 
House Rodin commands a network of highly trained and educated Sleeper agents the mages call “evectori”.  It is these agents that are the principle infiltrators of the Union, rather than the mages themselves.
This House is sometimes called the “Jeweled House” because of the predominant use of showstones as foci, as well as the practice of wearing these stones and gems as conspicuous jewelry.
Rodin mages are usually skilled at Correspondence and Mind, as well as Forces.  Despite reliance on unAwakened operatives, a large minority of mages are skilled in mundane surveillance and espionage, too.
House Rodin is not particularly influenced by the Japanese culture in spite of the fact that its current Primus and Covenant are of that nation.
Goals:  “Bring down the Technocracy from within, just like they are doing to our Order.  Remember, while the rest of the Houses are naive concerning the extent of their Technocratic corruption, they are not evil.  Nevertheless, always be on your guard, always keep your power close to your chest, and never tip your hand.   If you do, the Technocracy will know of it almost instantly.”
“Trust few, and trust no one fully.”
Ritual Items:  Jewelry [particularly earrings and rings], black silk scarf, mask, gold.
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The Houses of the Order: House Ptaminici [Nov. 27th, 2008|11:17 am]
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©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)

House Ptaminici

Current Size:  65 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus:  Becortan á Everonus Ptaminici.
Principle Covenant:  Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
College:  <Umbral>  Rex Hermeticus, a magnificent Horizon realm; <Physical>  There are three heavily fortified entrances to Rex Hermeticus:  one in Frankfurt, one just outside of Brasilia, and one at the mystickal “center” of the Earth’s surface, the magnetic South Pole.
History:  For many Tradition mages, House Ptaminici is the Order of Hermes.  This is ironic, as it was one of the later Houses to form.  Yet this House, the largest and most outspoken of all the Order, epitomizes for many the pride, power, arrogance and understanding that defines the Hermetic stereotype.  The current representative for the Order on the Council of Nine is from this House.  Most remarkably, to put it mildly, the founder of the House is not only still alive, but also remains the Primus after more than 1600 years!
Nowadays Becortan á Everonus Ptaminici cannot set foot on Earth without crumbling instantly into minute particles of pure Paradox.  However, back in the 4th century CE he was a bright-eyed idealist trained under the great Dædelan mage Ascarite.  A profoundly intelligent scholar with a powerful temper and a taste for mysteries, Ptaminici’s ambition was to create citadels of pure learning; places where Sleepers and Awakened alike could study Creation protected from the elements and diseases of common life.
This vision was compelling, as were Ptaminici’s significant oratory skills.  He initiated a movement within the European and North African Awakened community intent on forming such fantastic citadels as attended his dreams.
Such a following was bestirred that in 359 CE Ptaminici constructed a smallish but formidable keep and, with the help of his supporters, stocked it well with books, maps, and loyal soldiers.  It was not yet to the scale of his planned strongholds, but it was a serious start.  While Ptaminici’s “Citadels of Learning” idea was not truly original [the Batini had organized similar institutions 800 years earlier] his vision to spread these universities across the globe was unique and profound.
Hermetic scholars mark 360 CE as the true beginning of what was to become House Ptaminici.  The rise of the Celestial Chorus in the following centuries helped suppress the distribution of these Hermetic institutions, but the idea persisted and finally flourished after the 10th century.
During this time Ptaminici was to form the realm that would later become his near-permanent home—Rex Hermeticus— although it was a far humbler locale then than what it would become in later centuries.  As the idea of his institutions blossomed so did the realm grow in size, complexity and grandeur.  Indeed, it has been said that Ptaminici somehow tied the reality of Rex Hermeticus to the Sleepers' desire to learn.  True, this sounds patently unlikely, but it would help explain why the realm itself suffered during the popular advent of  television and has yet to recover.
Despite the fact that Ptaminici’s Citadels of Learning concept was later very successfully adopted and absorbed by the Order of Reason, he is still, to this day, the single most respected Hermetic amongst the entire Order.  This pride filters down, justifiably or otherwise, to every Hermetic of this House.  The fact that Ptaminici makes his will known only once every decade or so diminishes his figurehead only slightly; it was his word that finally drew the Order of Hermes into active participation during World War Two. It was also chiefly his influence that has preserved the relatively Hermetic values of several major English universities, as opposed to the almost thoroughly Technocratic American and Japanese institutions. 
Philosophy:  A political leader of the Order, House Ptaminici is keenly interested in Sleeper politics and world events as well.  Their motto is unofficially said to be “The Subtlest Hands Pull the Longest Strings”.  No Tradition has greater political power than the Order of Hermes, and no House greater influence than Ptaminici.
As such, all mages from this House must be fluent in the affairs of the world.  The skill they learn is called Political Understanding rather than Political Science, and it is indeed rather more effective a tool than what the Technocracy teaches.  History is also a required Knowledge, as is Linguistics.
While not strictly a requirement, most Ptaminici mages have high Manipulation scores.  The Sphere of Mind is a typical secondary pursuit, although a couple of cabals specialize in Time in order to understand and research the true, non-Technocratic versions of history.  These cabals can be recognized by the circlets of silver they frequently use to perform their magicks, particularly the Time and Mind Spheres.
Goals:  Wrest the reins of political power from the Technomancers [some definitely include the Virtual Adepts in that term] through superior understanding and patience.  Guide the Order and the Sleepers they oversee to a new dawn of wisdom.  Provide the Nine Traditions with focus and direction as only those with such a sublime and profound education as the Order of the Great Hermetic Mysteries can do.
Ritual Items:  Seal of Solomon or silver circle, torch, chalice, scroll.

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The Houses of the Order: House Orcarté [Nov. 25th, 2008|09:49 pm]
The Ascension Community

This, the smallest of the 13 Houses of the Order, is the only one I chose to completely develop, including names, detailed Chantry description, histories of each of the three cabals as well as each cabal's leader.  You won't find that here, mind.

The "believe it or not" line regarding the Virtual Adept springs from "my" Order being more conservative, on the whole, than canon.  They do not have much truck with technomantic paradigms.

©1998 mdfk a.k.a. onetarot (slightly modified in 2008)

House Orcarté
Current Size:  14 mages of Minorum rank or better.
Current Primus:  Amanda Muldoon-Miller.
Principle Covenant:  <Umbral> The House, located in the Horizon; <Physical>  a house in Denver, Colorado; and the Haima Rhein cavern on the Grecian coast.
College:  None.
History:  House Orcarté was originally formed in 65 CE as a response to a charge that Hermetic mages were falling to the Chorus as a result of degeneracy and carelessness.  Scarana Orcarté was a mysterious figure who wished to create a disciplined Order.  His new House caught favor quickly, influencing several key philosophies of Hermetic thought.  It is generally agreed that House Theselus would not be the power it is today if it had not been for that tremendous inspiration.  Indeed, the appearance of Orcarté heralded (though did not necessarily cause) the so-called Dynamic Period [roughly 65 to 500 CE] wherein ten new proto-Houses formed, including Theselus and Ptaminici.  House Orcarté’s status among Hermetics started high and steadily grew for centuries.  The House was known as the “Backbone of Learning” [the translation is better in Latin] and had a deserved reputation for extreme discipline, lofty goals, and, unexpectedly, political moderateness.
Such was their fame that they became a bright target for the powers of Reason in the late 14th century.  House Orcarté fought well and hard, but by that time the House had softened; when the Gauntlet was raised their hubris and dependence on their fragile realms proved to be their undoing.  The House disbanded in 1433.
Amanda Muldoon-Miller of House Theselus chose as her hero the legendary mage Orcarté while she struggled to become an Adept.  Born in 1829 to a very large Scottish family and gifted with “the Sight”, Amanda became a Hermetic dissatisfied with the notorious political infighting and intolerance of her House.  She recognized hubris at the roots of the “necessary” evil and thought that it only served to hinder the rise of the Order of Hermes.
She announced her split from her House during her Closing Speech after having been accepted as an Adept of the Seventh Degree.  The outrage and controversy following her decision had been tempered by her adamantine determination and prodigious skill.  Still, they held the door for her on her way out, so to speak, and to this day have not come to terms with her or her House—House Orcarté, reborn.
Her House was founded officially in October of 1891.  It suffered badly from lack of numbers [two cabals] and support from the Council, however, and started to die almost as soon as it had been created.  Her project struggled limply until Amanda met a Ptaminici loose cannon named Dematicus Tre.  A political liberal with a colorful history, Dematicus caused a gradual sea change within Amanda.  She slowly toned down the rigid discipline so favored by Orcarté and injected new energy into the group by doing the unthinkable:  enrolling non-Hermetics into the House!
Since then House Orcarté has become a comparative paragon of tolerance, determination, vitality, and dynamic action.  Still easily the smallest House of the Order, it has fought tooth and nail for every scrap of status it can get.  It has done this remarkably well, especially since the 1970’s.  Boasting a successful record against the Technocracy greater than a House twice its size [particularly against the Syndicate], the rest of the Order grudgingly acknowledges the new House Orcarté as an equal, House Theselus excepted.
Philosophy:  If this House must win the Ascension War all by itself, it will do so.  This is the kind of near-obsessive fanaticism that binds each and every member within the House.  The House consists of one Covenant and three cabals:  the Keepers of the Circle, the Sword of Truth, and the Seekers of the Oracle.  All live more-or-less together, professional and disciplined to a person.  In addition to Hermetics, the House also has one Verbena, one Euthanatos, one Celestial, and, believe it or not, one Virtual Adept.  The House boasts five Masters—over 35% of the Awakened members.  The House is closed to new members...the only House to be so.
Goals:  Forge a future for the Order of Hermes.  Study the methods of the Syndicate and counter them when possible.  Create friction amongst the Conventions by interfering invisibly.  Be subtle but wickedly strong.
Say what you will about House Orcarté...they do not think small.  One day, however, they will likely overstep themselves.  Whether they have the mentality and resources to recover from that eventuality remains to be seen.
Ritual Items:  gold circle, broadsword, chalice, ash staff.

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