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BR hae gee a era) La <> a B ©. Oe% 5 ORDER oF The Emperor. By STEPHEN ITICHAEL DIPESA AND PHIL BRUCATO Authors: Stephen Michae! DiPesa and Phil Brucato. World of Darkness created by Mark Reine Hagen Storyteller game system designed by Mark Reine Hagen Development: Bill Bridges Editing: Ana Balka Art Direction: Aileen E. Miles Interior Art: Leif Jones, Jeff Laubenstein, Alex Sheikman, Melissa Uran. Aileen E. Miles Layout and Typesetting: Aileen E. Miles 1554 Lirton Dk STONE MOUNTAIN, GA 30083 USA Came STUDIO ©2003 White WolfPublishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the purposes of reviews, and for blank character sheets, which may be reproduced for personal ue only, White Wolf, Vampire, Vampire the Masquerade, Vampire the Dark Ages, Mage the Ascension, Hunter the Reckoning, World of Darkness, Exalted, and Aberrant are registered trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Werewolf the Apocalypse, Wraith the Oblivion, Changeling the Dreaming, Werewolf the Wild West, Mage the Sorcerers Crusade, Wraith the Great War, Trinity, The Swashbucklers Handbook, Guide to the Traditions, Tales of Magick High Adventures, Dark Ages Mage, The Fragile Path, The Book of Chantris, Tradition Book Order of Hermes, Tradition Book Sons of Ether, Forged by Dragon's Fite, and Blood Treachery are trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by White Wolf Publishing, Inc. The mention ofo reference to any company or product in these pages isnot a challenge tothe trademark or copyright concerned This book uses the supernatural for settings, characters and themes. All mystical and supernatural elements are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only. This book contains mature content. Reader discretion is advised Fora free White Wolf catalog call 1-800-454-WOLE. Check out White Wolf online at hattpsfworw.white-wolf.com; alt-games.whitewolf and rec.games frp storyteller PRINTED IN CANADA, ivi Ate! Wun OL [ek A Ter ee a Pon te OR OD Fok HERMES GENTENTS PR@L@GUE; RENEGADE INTRODUCTION: PHOENIX FROMTT THE'FLAMIES CHAPTER I; LIGHTNING AND\SERPENTS CHAPTER II: THE WVILL AND THENX/ RD CHAPTER II]: THE W/ Ay OF PYTTANDER EPILOGUE: DANCE W/ITH THE DEVIL; I ard bara tng tf letorwn c Bg) reeccinoncof he dspertepeamcnadaes Erenhis roy sven na ainoed ite blood os ea oe ic ar wes or ft tcc sundane, Hesmiled weakly ashetumedtoface Augustus, FN brushing a few stray locks of hair out of his face with bis tinbloodied left hand. Peobrale,” he sid casually, as if headdressed a ; ‘workplaceeslleagueen routetothe elevator. Augustscid ; rat relax, did noe akehis rind off the Glock 17 hollered at his hip ' “Richa it's tne to go” sacl Augustus Tevelly, br forcefully “Jus moment, Pembroke” replied Richard Pris, bani Flambeau" haveafewnore things toseetoher beloe {head out be more shanbppy toleave with you then. This wil sttake me another five mites 6s. Augustus sly drew gun. Something nthe Flambgausrone rod him that sldhough he was perfectly lucid, he had no incfton of avin beforehis work here wasone. Pointing his un downwaforthemoment, the Tyalan pressed. "Richard, 'stime toleave now. Yowae not faishng that you eae here to do Lean’ et yo F ‘Richard absently studied an unremarkable expanse of corde wall. bc seed shaken fiom his contemplation by Augustus statment. He : anced oyeratthecthermage, sighing with an empy smirk figured you say that sad, oo. Texpected you gounderstand. Sheen gstofftie “The words stung Augustus, though he allobed his face to betay Bo bhine oft He had ureered these very words Richard just over hee yeahs Pfs theshe mun ad rena il ee onl OF ‘when he petitioned fr membership in House Flambeau 2 Year bate, jst two weeks afte Technoctatic raid they had preven ore than happy 79 acmit anv dee verging on Mastery ntosheir rank Richard continued, *Nknow what alb&offollsin the Onder aay aketieme after the cannery incident ail especaly afte the blackout but Lea see, in my heart, what necds to be done. If it were vengeance, ‘Augussas I'd be hunting down thefaniliesofTechnocras, wouldn't I?m just luitraring co the Sleepers tft the tools of the Technocracy are Uuldmately no more trustworthy oF benevolent than the Order of Reason ‘nce made cis ways out to be, Sey, jou can see the logic in hac "Bur a nuclear power Hatt, Richard?” Augustus hissed, now grip the gun tightly, “You'l kill hundreds — no, cens of thousincof people.” *Tknow," Richard whispered, locking pained and ashamed, though ‘soli "ve sen what x nuclear blast does t6 those at ground 3x0 and ‘whatiedces to those caught in the fallout sane. Lam not proud of what Pm boing Pembroke.” "Then sop dong i weapon, You know, Pembroke,” Richard retorted, neVer losing that hellow and hearesshall- sail, I recall saying almost that vey thing tothat Man sn Black night before e sbot my baby gi in te faces Please, op. I all Augustus replied, easing off the’ safety of his I Spi cig. We ees cl a eames res ms oh incr fbx to meal Mingd shatter his word” Gi pet Set tvean a eat re ged dae ih be hoy grainy ara ogh drs Vit Saratoga bbe Cc Retr bed Hoen a peat Mien of interes ofthe Ar Potente, fut now his command of the Order's iene clat svt cine ores catia bstacvicte ie beseie tnt pushing them, Pembroke” Richard bid, a though > planing the mtr toa chi Tm tyingyghelpghem pierce the dision econo nfery tot ranglng he Bah Time el agin we have age ory ond che inne oui ees Ewe to mi the Sleeper tochangeperpective. Do youseestharwe have adtytopotect them: Pembroke” Ofcourse? the Tyan eed ig chicka ily. “Andwhafyouhadtosllowharm cone so. choad cf chem in oner to ave a milion the arength to sve Rel oes What does your Tyla training el you abou bung anay est Net sail ofthe ite: pcan” Augistus asked He chen returne Richart’ blk sin. “ee ls eth your xn isaveaknesswithinrOnderandthat 3G cotaien febtion dies wright” _Jugethen, however, Augustusslippedup. Inthe courseofmentally reciting es counters ety ceed voll ofhispel aud eve Splice thn a ehic Ad Mnbt Angs dil pox debt Richard Spe lh naoncrag es ft enc el He Lr And, strangelyfhe did not appear to be concemed in the slightest, Be Aap tht Richard Pix, while determined, wat not rants Hiseontel ofthe Ar Viru did no outstrip he Tyaln'sown ty Ie thar cul’ to dari Apa rap 3 completely. Bur what was his angle? As Richard closed is eyes and spoke side Ehochian command under his breath, lamin igs bud in the Fp re rmgee cgi real The Tlie his pi and fired three cots cishing the fs fragrant ol in his ace pocke with islet hand ashe dd, weaving Prime eountermagi ig Richart strpe wo bum out he Petes cfhebulletsglaneedoffo gut powel spell and ewo sha tok him, ince thighs While the hid Nic himtin che tomach, Ax he crumpled in ates [yee tor: powctfl coctecrmcte coezing Cs feneal antimagic on Richard. The Flambeau loked up. Ace od ging tal a Augustus knocked imunconscious with alow tothe ead fromthe bunt of his ltl. "That forthe Questor to deck "He wookhisceluar rhonefromhisjacket wth isbeedingfthand andl cumberrm fomensy. jalan ited aedaptive? ie Asaspatial distortion opened in the air and Augustus Pembroke, bani Tye the Seutrook Nulor Peer Plane wth he cxpivglang ver Tisstoull rca fplar wane ohat wma peel orc, tne what wa on. PROLOGUE RENEGADE 5 EUR UM Un Youth is the fl merely polish on blu — Master Porthos Fits-Empress, ignites the future. Power is 1 Fragile Path SolT Is DONE Nec pulvis ‘Nec.flamma. NEC tempesta ‘Nec timor (Nor Dast. Nor Flame. Nor Tenipese Nor Fear.J NeTATIEN @& DUST (Qur'stronghola lies in ruins Our enemies are ascendant: ji] stones. Even if those stones crumble, the ys design remains. A tumbled tower can be rebuilt. And purpose resolute. Time is on our side — time, and the wisdom of the ages. ‘Webearthe threefold name of Hermes He who was the god of messengers and thieves; the Thrice-Greater One who shaped the Cor- pus Hermeticum; and the Thrice-Greater-Than-He Hermetic spirit who crackles even now in the tenor of our times. All chree lend inspiration to the workings of our Art. All three are immortal. And all three bear the flame of insight and the seal of secrecy. Hermes, in all aspects, is thought. Speed. Luck Trickery. He's the truth behind illusions that leads to ‘more illusions still. A living labyrinth, he whips across the cosmos in paths too puzzling to comprehend. Like the thunderstroke of the Kabbalah, Hermes flies from godhood to matter; like its serpent, he climbs again back todivinity. He islightningand serpent, clarityand trickery. Heis gold and quicksilver, flashing brighteven oon the darkest days. ‘And we share his light, even in the darkest worlds. Tothose who think they know us, we aregraybeards and eaters of dust. Wrapped in brocade and sequestered in crumbling archives, we're said to mumble away our years in ancient nonsense. At times, such conceptions have seemed true. But now, from the ashes of our forebears flies a new Hermetic Order — one that shall ignite the era that has dawned. For now, more than ever, we live in the age of Hermes. Ideas hurtle the length of a world in seconds; sheer will crafts worlds of light and formulae; children play with toys chat leap time and space, and their elders design their lives around such toys. That such play- things ape the cools of Technocratic rivals cannot disguise the Hermetic truth behind them: knowledge is reality — and neither one has limits. Hermes is master of thought and vision. He scoffs at mortal boundaries. And like him, we leap obstacles that clog the paths of lesser men. We are the wind in the lock. The spark within the sun. Each droplet in the sea calls our name; each stone upon the earth lends us strength. No chains of matter or magic can shackle Hermes. And none shall hinder us. The only limit we accept is Will. And no one understands true Will ike us. "TH®USAND~YEAR SURVIVORS Having conceived that nothing's impossible to you, consider yourself immortal and able to AJ understand everything, all art, all learning, IFA the temper of every living thing... and when M@S) you have understood all these at once — times, places, things, qualities, quantities — then Jou can understand God. — Mind, from the Corpus Hermeticum For over 1000 years, the Order of Hermes has been the mystic Tradition, The Akashics may boast an older fellowships the witches might prac- tice elder Arts; the shamans can date their ways to the dawn of time. Regardless, itis the sons and daughters of ‘Hermes who define the western magical tradition, ‘whoseshadowshave loomed overeveryone from Aleister Crowley to Harry Potter. So what the hell happened to them? In the last decade, while other groups watched their stars rise in the cultural firmament, while the Sleepers themselves ‘embraced magic in ways not seen since medieval times, the Houses of Hermes trembled to their foundations. Devastated by attacks from without and treachery from 8 @RDER @F HERTS within, the Order's proud wizards have been force-fed humble pie and generous helpings of crow. And yet. Anyone who counts the Order out is very badly mistaken. Despite catastrophes, Hermes’ descendants remain one of the most potent forces in the magical world. Like acorporation whose ranks have been purged by scandal, the Order has retrenched and reorganized. Outsiders might see the same old wizards huddled in their robes, but there’s a new heart beating beneath those vestments — the lion’s heart of true survivors. For the Hermetic magi have always been survivors. ‘When Gnostic sages composed the Corpus Hermeticum, they considered themselves last bastions of Egyptian wisdom; the founders of the current Order preserved their Arts in a barbarian world; the wizards of the Convocation boasted noble lineage in a world spinning out of control; and now, with magic steeped in pop culture, the Hermetics of this Reckoning Age know it’s their determination alone that keeps the ancient se- crets strong. For centuries, these wizards have trumpeted tradi- tion as the saving grace of magic. Yet in part, it’s the Hermetic devotion to tradition that’s caused the cur- rent mess. Fusty old wizards and labyrinthine ways almost destroyed the Order, and did destroy many of its most notorious members. Tradition may indeed be vital, but as the Hermetic survivors have learned, not all Old Ways are necessarily the Best Ways. So what does a survivor do when old methods fail? Change methods. ‘And how might that survivor change methods while remaining true to his traditions? Ah, now that's a challenge. And for over 1000 years, meeting challenges is what the Onder of Hermes does best. THEME: REBIRTH UNT® PERFECTION In the Hermetic art of alchemy, lesser substances | are transformed into gold; symbolically, the “lesser substance” isthe mage and the “gold” represents Ascen- sion. Expand the metaphor further, and you can see the object in question asthe Order of Hermes itself. Stretch a bit, and it becomes the Council of Magekind; stretch a bit more, and it becomes humanity as whole. Yer there's a step in alchemy that few folk recall: putrefaction, the breakdown that precedes perfection. The subject of transformation quite literally turns to shit before it starts changing into gold. And although it’s not very politic to say so out loud, many Hermetic mages have begun to see the disasters of the last few | decades as the putrefaction of the Order — a vile } necessity leading to a higher state. And if this is true, then the best is yet to come — for the Order, for the | Traditions, and for the worldat large. Everything's gone into the crapper, but it’s heading to the stars and beyond. And)so, asthe survivors of the Ascension War and itsfallout shake the ashes from their sleeves, they begin the hard but necessary work of turning shit into gold. Already, the glimmers begin to show: eager new re- ctuits, streamlined onganization, and a sense of purpose that’s been lacking for generations. The cranky old Merlins that have stymied the Order for so long are history; their heirs are searching the dung heap for treasures, and with those secrets, have already begun to craft a City of Pymander in this turbulent new era... a city built of fresh-minted gold. Teen: DEFIANT EUPHERIA Shit stinks. So does the lot of the current mystic generation, shaken by their elders’ failure, swamped to the waist in sewage. Yet while other folks might whine about the injustice of tall, the Hermetic survivors have been galvanized by the Order's misfortunes. Doissetep's ruin provides their opportunity For too long, the Arx Hermeticum — the meta- phorical fortress of Hermes that provided a real power hase for its members — protected strong and ancient sorcerers. Youngmagesaspired to greatness, but the line to that summit was long and stubborn. Under old Masters’ tutelage, progress within the Order was mea- sured not in years but in decades or centuries. A small but powerful faction of corrupt insiders kept challeng- exsslippingiin their own blood, and the very heart of the Order was clogged with excess protocol But now the ancient Order has broken and a new breed has set up shop in the Arx Hermeticum. The cracking of old walls simply gives its new residents new building material. Now, for the first rime in centuries, there's room within the Order to move, to grow — to improve the sacred fellowship and invoke the spirit of Hermes once again. There'll be a lot of shit to wade through, but these proud young mages are ready for the chore. CONTENTS SSS And the words written on my heare Bay were in the leter for me to read. Tremembered that I was the son of kings And my free sou! longed for its own kind. —"The Hymn of the Pearl” (anony- mous Gnostic fable) In years past, anyone hoping to under- Zl stand the Hermetic Path beheld a maze of arcane trivia and choking formality. Now, though, time is Pee wy : map ery tabi Fi hi AUT path a yt a ak 8 short. The days when.a would-be Hermeticist could spend clecades sequestered with his tomes are gone. (So, for that matter, are many of the tomes in question....) A new aspirant must hit the ground running, and so a shorter, more casual overview supplants the old minutiae: * Chapter I: Lightning and Serpents spans the millennia-old Path of Hermes. Like the Kabbalistic serpent that glides from earth to godhood, this Path rises from the dust and ascends the Tree of Being; and like the thunderbolt that strikes from Crown to King- INTR@DUCTION: PHOENIX FROM THE FLAMES 9) ry vata! ’ Vr sy MA Abe te ob a Vi, Xi Rn 4 i i Ro f= dom, itcrackles down from the seat of perfection to the mire of humanity. [¢’s a ewo-way journey, this strange passage, but the children of Hermes the Messenger can expect no less. © Chapter II: The Will and the Word reveals the inner secrets of the Order, from the degrees of attain- ment and the Laws of Pymander that govern behavior and justice, to the Houses themselves — the Greater and the Lesser — and the philosophy behind the Ars Magicae. Also revealed are new manners of communi- cating with astral spirits and binding them into pacts. Chapter Ill: The Way of Pymander shows the Heretics themselves, from Archmasters to Initiates. A sample cabal — the Teaching Staff of the Straussen Acad- cemy—is provided, along with tips for storytelling Order of Hermes chronicles. Bight eemplate characters flesh out the living, modem traditions of the venerable Order. Truly, this is a watershed age for the Houses of Hermes. Not since the Renaissance has there been so imuch freedom, so much possibility, so much at stake and yet so much to gain. The Path of ritual magic has never been easy. It requites heroic levels of slf-mastery. Few modern pur- suits — save military Special Forces — demand such dedication. But like the hardy souls who pass boot camp, young initiates of the Hermetic Order share a bond of admiration that comes only through hard work and sacrifice. Now, as its internecine struggles become bad memories, the Order’ssparse ranksswell with pride. ‘The tower has been shaken. But has it fallen? Never ‘Hermes is alive and well. ‘The Order is eternal. folderol. Older mages still use ancient formalities ith one another, but even they have bowed to the necessity of quick communications and simplified Adam Kadmon: The Primordial Man, reflecting the Divine within humanity. Seen asa guide to godly erfection captured within the imperfecthuman form. ‘Art (or Ars): Magic; a Sphere or the magic performed with one. (SeeChapter Il: The Will and. the Word for Hermetic Sphere names.) ‘Arx Hermeticum: Symbolically, the structure of the Order and the strength of its resolve. Literally # Forcress of Hermes,” itwas often equated to Doisset inlike Doissetep, this Fortress has not been demol- ed, simply reorganized. Bani: “Of the House of"; an honorific used ex- sively n titles buton its way out inal but the most mal conversations. Also used to address members ‘of other Traditions (Aria, bani Ecstasy) in diplomatic situations. (Note: Few Hermetics ever use the ex- tended versions of other Tradition names in formal ; instead, bani covers “Brotherhood,” “Cult ‘Children of," “Sons of,” and so fofth — Le. . Kennagara, bani Akashica” rathersbdnt"Kannagara, bani Akashic Brothethood.”) - | Enochian: The language of the spirits, suppos- edly handed down from Umbrood lords, Mote likely, | a secret language cobbled together by Renaissance Masters, then “tested” by various sages and dupes until the kinks were worked out of it. ; Instruments: Magical tools, i.e., foci (a term no Hermetic mage would ever use!). Massasa: Vampire. Old rerm repopularized by . the recent difficulties with the Tremere. Mias:“Quicksand!saptterm for Hernetic politics, oY a Wed V rk la t cy Pymanderphile: Disparaging tétm for a Her- metic idealist Saneta: Private quarters and magical space Sephierah: “Spheres”; the 10 Kabbalistic crowns, or aspects of Divinity within’Creation. Albo tised as a term for the Nine Spheres (below), with Kether being the “lose” 10th Sphere ‘Twilight: Quiet. Wing: The Internet, named for the wings of Hermes and used as both'a noun ("I've been rising the wing this morning”) and a verb (“Were You ‘winginig when I called earlier?) @uTIMeDED TERMS (RARELY USED BY M@DERN HERITIETICS) Circlus Abstrusus: The now-fallen inner circle of Hermetic Archmasters, cracked by Doissetep’s, ruin and wrecked during the Concordia War. City of Pymander: The shining city of Hermetic idealism; magical*Utopia guided by hidden chmasters. Considered a naive, if not utterly ab- surd, goal these days, the Pymander concept still has its adherents, Covenant: Old formn for Chaiitrys still used by some new-generation romantics Domus Magaust The “home base” of an indi> vidual Hermetic Houser Heka: Magi Mater: "Mother" traditional addressforafemale mentor. Parma Magica: “Magic shield” —countetmagic. Once:tsed as a symbol of Hermetic solidaricy, but undermined by recent treacheries. ater? “Father”; a male mentor: Sa: Favors or obligation; from magical luids ir Egyptian lore. (Vulgarly referredioas“Janissary juice” by those who bitterly recall Caron’Mustai) INTREDUCTION; PHOENIX FREM THE FLIES ° 4 SMP Mgt! ‘i na fabian! Nl lee of who we are, uhat we became; wwe seed, swhere from swe are redeemed; what birth is, and what rebireh were, whereino we have been thrown; wh Valentinus of Alexandria THE DANCING ITIAGE (Once, there was a wizard — a fine, upstanding chap with wings on his feet and words in is head tnd the fire of God burning in his heart. In yout, ipping him, sealing his gold Ac fist, he cried bitter tears, cursing everyone he'd ever ‘known, But then something broke within him like an evil bone that had rotted deep inside. A wash of pain shot through the laughing at |, then ina flash w From the place where he had fallen, the wizard rose up hale | and strong again. With blasing eyes, he punished those who'd But our wizard grew old. Power went to his head, and — stolen from him. With noble words, he apok to those he storms caressed his mind, He became haughty and mistrusting. had wronged, the friends he'd forsaken and the children he'd Noone ould approach him, and in time our wizard wasalone, disowned. Casting aside his broken Loneliness does stange things to a wizard. It makes him himself a new o yet drives him sane, When he walked, ou wi fell heavily; the ground be and mumbl upeeme throughout the land. four wizard carved © of fresh and supple wood. With a laugh, he ain. His fiends joined him. His enemies fled he While indeed! he'd stumbled, our wizard did nos break. Like a wizard’ fiends began to fea cnemies — and he ha man, he'd been purged. Though stripped of many riches the ‘many! — closed in ‘wizard retained the gift that had made him strong in youth:a heart ofgoldthatagod gave him and that wise flk polished until itshone. ‘CHAPTER @NE: LIGHTNING AND SERPENTS B ee , WEN Meee Sy ARATE a fab t ptt Pasa, [face cate yeast Sa YEN a We wey ‘As he danced, our wisard drew his heart from beneath his robes and rased ito the sun. The goki began to glow, and light embraced the land. Shadows led and children gigeled. With his hear of god aloft, the wizand rose into the sky. His heels sprouted ‘wings with which to dance acros the clouds. His ray hair flared into gold, and then to fire, and then to sunlight. The wizacd became bothlightand aughter,athiefofdackness.Inhisradiance, the children began to sing. Their song transformed the world. Andiso it was thatthe musty old wizard regained his youth ‘And this ime he swore he'd be careful where —and how heavily —he walked! SACRED FIRE Tes nice litle fable. So how tru ii? ‘As true as our new Hermetic Onder can make it Lan se fom your expression that “dance” is not exactly a verb chat comes to mind when you think of Hermes’ Order. But that’s my point: we dampened the vitality ofthe Great God Hermes, wrapped i in sackcloth, and called chat “enighten- rent.” But Hermes himself was a trickster, a thief, a leet messenger who seemed to dance upon the clouds. Looking down cn the sad assemblage our Onderhad become, Hermes must have Jaughed his ass off... ried his heart out. Or both. (You never can tell with gods, especially hose temperamental Greek ones.) “The Corpus Hermeticum itself speaks of singingin the sou, of oy and energy. Yetcenturies of tradition have convinced us that 10 be truly a “serious” magus, you must become a cst old relic Ichasnocalways been thus. And it need not stay that way. In the frst days of our august Order, Hermetic lore lent fre tothe human mind. Butas discipline gave way todogmatism, the blaze of inspiration guttered to a hidlen flame. That fire could still bum — and often did! Bur its luster paled on stronghold walls, warming distant men gathered in the name of adying go. Like the wizard ofthe fable, our Masters grew comrupe. Torn, by suspicion and intrigue, they huxidled their brightest pupils seclusion, or wasted them on pointless wats, To approach these wizards, you had to suffer tet upon test. To date the throne of “Hermes, they said one must provethe right todos, Thatright” became more and more difficult to attain. And then icall blew up. Not long ago, that sacred flame became a holocaust. Con- suming many ofits ancient tenders, it raged through every plane known toman... and several more besides. By the time the blaze dled down, the old Order was in embers Like the Tower of the Tarot, our proud Tradition had been shattered. Bur wisdom carries greater weight than stone. Its trivia may burn lke the srols of Alexandria, bur ue knowledge is ramortal ‘And so, Hermetic mages banked those raging fies, sifted through the runs, andl — as previous survivors did — began to build anew. (Oh, we still have cranks among us, vituperative old toads whose venom has ben steeped by centuries of inertia, But Hermes |imselfsalive and well —active, boisterous, filled with guile and aflame with inspiration. In his wake, fwe but follow, the old gates will crash tothe ground and Sophia's garden will Boom anew: ‘And the wizard may once again begin to dance. Forhim, and for our Order, che spring season has returned. Be@DY OF HERITIES: \X/ HERE D@ ES IT BEGIN? God, being male and female, begining as fe and lg, gave bie, bythe Word, washer Nous, the Creator ofthe wore, being the gro fre aa, formed seven powers who encompass in their circles the sensory wold, and the govemumces of these owes is called Destiny —Poimandtes fom the Corpus Hermetcun S (* Nous, vital word in Hermetic thought, IF has no direct English translation. Ieconveyscon- sciousness, intellect, wisdom, perception, primal divinityand sophisticated creaviy, and itmeansallyet acne of these things directly.) THE W/@RD 1AM, said the Voice, THAT 1 AM. Ispoke not English, nor Latin nor Hebrew nor Greek. Is Logos was supreme —all words, songs and languages that would evercometobe. The Wordsrangthrough the Voidandracedout from the heavens filling the Nothing with All Iespoke in the void ofpossbiliey theall-thatis-nothing yet will become all tings in time. es timbre ser that vod vibrating, and many songs began to spin themselves to life within that dying silence. 14 @RDER OF HERES ‘And in darkness the Crown began to shine. And in that slow, there was light, For what is a Crown without a kingdom? What kingdom ‘could there be in void? Whar liege might make Itself known ft, did not know Itself well enough to govern? And what gold might forge a crown if earth itself did not exist? AAlllchings began from such conundrums: From a Voice where there was no form, in a kingdom where there were no subjects, ina mind that knew not what it was, weaving music here there was no sound. ‘And lightning shattered that dark silence, and was born. THE TREE OF LIFE From the heavens formed by the lighting lace the Sephiroth (Spheres) began to chime. Their songs marked elements of God, separate aspects made Divine One: * Kether, the Crown, consciousness and heart of God * Chokmah, Divine Wisdom + Binh, Understanding '* Chesed, Mercy * Geburah, Severity * Tiphareth, eternal Beauty reation * Netzach, Victory ‘© Hod, God's Splendor and that of Creation. * Yesod, the Foundation ofall worlds, « and Malkuth, the Kingdom and mortal consciousness that is ruled by God and living things From them all sprang Otz Chaim, the Tree of Life, that span of being chat runs through all existence. All-present yer rooted nowhere, this Tree joined heavensand workisand spirit into one. ‘Acstorm of inspiration struck. New lightning eracked from (Crown to Kingdom, seating paths from each Sphere o the next, ‘lazing a path of awareness through which Creator arced down to Created, ‘Then from the Kingdom, twin serpents rose. Slithering, they ascended the Sephiroth from ol to supreme consciousness Trailing the dire of their bellies, they traveled the path of Divinity once more, bringing knowledge of mortality to the Crown that can never die. ‘And God became both lightning bolt and serpent: mortal, yeteternally without death, ‘THE REGENTS AND ALL EARTHLY FoRITis In ts wisdom, God begat the seven Thrones, the Regents and thei servitors. From this emanation came all gods and angels, the spirits and the lesser Spheres. The heavens rang with ‘ten million voices ‘God then wrapped those songs within God's One Voice, and spun them into elements. The Earth and Water, Fireand Air spooled out from the Sephiroth, forming sublime patterns and earthly forms. God’s spirit wove throughout them al, drawing them together, binding Creation ina living weave —a Logos of Inefable perfection. This weave drew forth twin essences of God: Yahweh the Lond King Father, and Shekinah the Great Queen Mother. From them all chings descend: each man and woman, each mortal beastorkeing. Every goclor gocklessbearstheirperfecrfaces; each stir within a mortal breast recalls the union of theit love. ‘And the seasswelled, and the landsarose. The windsflowed dwn like a breath of song, and the fre lit the world’s core and shimmered down from endless skies. Then spirit breathed into them all, and brought forth life upon the world And God saw i all. And it was good. BROKEN PROMISES Yee the dirt of the twin serpents’ passage flaked away, becoming new and darker Spheres. In time, they blossomed black, ripened dry with obscene knowledge, then shattered from theirown profanity. Within those midnight Sephiroth, new and terrible things were born — horrors in the mind of God, night- mares of self-knowledge. As these profane eggs broke to pieces, the terrors howled in their rage. Cast back by God into the shadow of Its soul, they became dark fears: demons and the Qlnpoth (Shell), they endured “Why forsake you us? they cried, “Are we not aspects of your Truth as well? Did you not birth us in your climb of self- discovery and are we not as dear to thee as all those brighter things?” il raised in honor of the Crown. wig Re pha Fanly yes ivy But God dismissed them, saying "lam done with thee. 1 ‘need thee not.” ‘And thedemons howled, andswore they dbe avenged. And (Creation trembled as God's bad dreams emerged Seas grew black with deep-bred things; earth trembled under giant strides; the skies bore fries of pestilence and rin; the fires blazed forth flaming horrors in mockery of Gods ‘Aad there were ages now ls, where elder races asd great cities chat soon toppled into destruction. Fine treasures were ‘wrought for peace a war, then eastside by time and memory. Creation buckled, and the hosts of God demanded that light extinguish darkness and sweep the Shells away Then there were battles joined; gods warred and spirits all bur skilled initiates. Toshi) he prose phnpleran ge cfay ‘ istreated with variousprocesses ntl it decays breaks down, and reforms into anew and splendid treasure. In practice, alchemyinvolvestral, err, frustration ard patience... nits way, a form of sel-perfection that trarsorms the seeker himself into something bere Tes the microeos) macro osm principle: by workingchangeson your world, You make changes in yourself. The reverse is alo tue. ‘When people — even alchemists * think of the at, they just remember te leadjgold par. fh berween these stages, though, thefe's always putefacion decay. Before perfection, chere must fe coruption It’ spattofthe proces. Hopefully, thae deeay can be turned around, transforming the subject int its highest sate i Intaptionally o otherwise, the Order of Hermes ma) have been practicingaform of roup-alchemy on itsfellow- hipall these years. Ifo, will they be successful or is this, ‘puttefaction permanent? Andifthispasing "ages dust” ‘the Ofder's putrefaction, what gold might soon, emerge from it? All good questions for the future. THE AcE @F DusT ‘When Tharsis fll ojudgmentin 1897, it seemed our Order ‘wasa ghost. By then, the kings were tottering replaced by nation- states endindependentrule. Queen Vitor the streat monarch, held Europe by ties of blood and honor. Bursuch tes stretch only so fa, al were fraying quickly inthe Indusial Eras rsh. The kings, of course, thought otherwise; to them, the “civilization” they constructed was the bestofhuman worlds. Andso, oblivious to the echoes of che American Civil War, these las kings baile eat war machines, unaware ofthe shockwaves both woul cause. ‘Andi Hermes? His earely wealth was great, but his visi peered beyond our world. Within modern Olympuses, his fl- lowers governed storm and archive. Our Archmasters — thei lives prolonged to ages by alchemical Arts — removed them- selves from worldly cares; wrapped in esoterica or plot, they. became like the realms they ruled —distantand implacable. The few youngsters (I was one) who dared approach their thrones weregivenster tasksandendlessseuy.“Someday"theytoldus, “youll achieve our heights.” Meanuile, they did everything they could to make sre that never happened yen House Verditius proved a case in point: inspted by Industrial innovations, they buile great machines and strange devices. Elder sercerers were horrified —howdid these... these technocrats become urkin? Ina seies of lame and banishment, the old wizards drove ‘Verditiusinto disgrace, stripped it f full House staus,and forced the few members who didn quit outright into House Ex Miscellanea, Jrnically this ove many Verditiansstraighc othe echnocrars we feared. The Order of Reason, now reorganizing itself into the Technocratic Union, welcomed these inventors into its fellowshi Some later returned within the Sons of Ether. Most never came back at al DANGER®Us GeDs Hermes cells us You cam Become ago. But as his own myths testify gods can be capricious things. Robbed of human perspec tvesthey become alientyrantscloakedin thunder. Mightecomes the only right, and no vision is acceptable save their own, Within Horizon, Doissetep, Fors Collegis Mercuris and oherrealms, our Archmasters sought divinity. Having lost their mortal home, they deew theit ives out for generations with alchemy and spell Inthe name ofchallenge, they conspired over tries. Their apprentices (I was one) were sent like agents into but denied much reward in ourown chantries. In their towers, these old wizards brooded. Sometimes they fought, but imoe cften they let others do that for them. Our fellow Trad: tions dew further back. The Council owed our Order much, but those debts stirred resentment more than camaraderie. thewor (Old Doissetep became our Zeus’ throne. Like Olympus, it housed gods withour number and quarrels without end. Among these frail divinities three Masters came rorepresentthestruggles of those years: Porthos Fitz-Empress bani Flambeau, of the Drua’shi; Caeron Mustai bani Janissary of the Ever-Reddened Sword} and Getulio Vargas Sao-Cristavao bani Tytalus, our sbi Pry whee chancellor to Horizon and our Nemesis before that Council Other Archmasters left their marks, of course, but these chee ‘men — for good and ill — set the tone forthe coming century Master Porthos was the diplomat. Though half-mad and he had an eye on the furure and kind words forthe young. I's been said that his tottered sanity c from self-awareness: Porthos knew his age and power drew further from Ascension, yet he pursueditwith missionarys thar pursuit, he became all that he saw hindering our Tradition, butstll he knew thar ihe faltered, other Masters would take is, place and probably do worse occasionally murderot Master Caeron was Porthos greatest ri almost every way. Despite affe: lesser magesashis pawns. A conspirator through and throu his opposi jonsof youth-culeure, he used dedicated himself to destroying our T: saved plenty of ‘owed him, no one trusted him, and if anyone save Porthos and Master Avis Malone hani Bonisagus dared oppose him, they never did so openly. Since his death, Mustai has come to epitomize all chat was wrong with our Order. In life, though, he ‘was considered is greatest strength. And then we have Sao Christavao — a proud i probably deserved better than his legacy. Que face before the ‘Council, he served poorly indeed. Ie was Sao Ch insulted the Iroquois, incensed the Verbena, end encouraged the ini to leave theirseat and return to their homelands for good. Abrasive, haughty and too powerful toignore, he became “the bad symbol forall we had become. Disgraced and removed (bodily) ftomhis Council seatby Porthos, he left. badtasteamong cour brethren in spite of many good deeds he performed, cratic rivals, yet lice for his Hermetic cousins, too. Everyone wa0 who Allthreemen have since died — brought down by tumbling Towers, one and all. But fora time, they presented Hermes’ face before the world. Not always wisely, not often well, but with al, CHAPTER @NE; LIGHTNING AND SERFENTS ey 4 Ss Mutant the power they could bear. That power shaped the realms they welled within, the magesliving there, and the very atmosphere of Hermes’ chambers... an atmosphere that presaged a stoem. A CENTURY @F ST@RITIS Queen Victoria was the herald of proverbial “interesting times.” During her life, an interest in faeries, mysticism and ancient Egypt arose against Industral squalor. This rebellion began inthe late 1800s, whenspiritualists,occultstsand archeolo- sjstsignited Sleeperconsciousness with discoveriesanddeceptions Alehough the procession of cults, prophets, séances, bunksters, *pharaoh’s curses,” Penny Dreadful, sideshows, witches, Masonic lodges and other hokum had little todo with Hermes, they proved thaemankind wanted mage, desired magic. Victorian high society (inwhich many of our Order traveled) may have had amechanis- ticai, but beneath the stiffacade, the mortalscravedlenchantment, Ie’s been said the “secret and ascended masters” that in formed Dion Fortune, the Golden Dawn and others were of Hermetic origin. I don'e know, buc [ doube it was the Order's plan. Some Masters may have used Ars Mentis to str the brains ‘of mortal pawns, but most seemed to have better things to do. Regardless, che earthly mystics began to claim that world for us agin. The iron door of Reason began to creak... ‘And then it shattered THEGREAT \W/AR Victoria's death set machines in motion. The last kingstook to quarreling. Soon iron crows began to flap theit wings. Like so ‘many other kings, the heads of empires beat their war-dcums, sending soldiers marching. If they'd watched the United States, they might have known wha to expect. Gas. Machine-guns. Barbed wire and sitplanes. Muddy tuenches breeding filth Boys herded into meat-rinders called “no mans land." Then pestilence on a global scale. So much for order. So much forthe Machine. So much fr ‘the empires that had bred them both. By 1920, alll was broken. ‘And then ur War began in earnest Youlknow thetale:the Technocratie Onder ceclared its Pogson: cour Council tossed magic in the cracks of science; the Mad Ones ‘Hlssomed and the Fallen conspired, and Reality went up for gab. ‘The last century’s Ascension battles recalled the Renais- tance: unbridled courage and open wat. Though “vulgar” magics remained hazardous, the new conic allowed new rules, ike moral, we adopted fesh technologies the Sons of Ether and later the Adepts joined our Council, while the Technocrats sent their machines against us. Ifthe battle-lineshad been drawn that clealy, things might hhavegonemorelogically. But werisneverclear,andmansrarely logical. The lines of nation and bigotry that lead to hell on earth bind men and mages both. And so, when Hitler and his allies raised their swords, Hermes himself was divided. HERITIES AT THE GATES @F TROY Homer wrote of the Trojan War, when friends slew friends and fathers slew daughters and great empires fel to ruins, al for pride, That same pre and sense of destiny tore our Coun and the Technocrats in half. We were both Hector and Achilles, then — both strong and full of fire. Given time, [could rece a thousand names and rales of Hermetic mages who fought and died for ether freedom or the Nazi flag. It does us no great credit that several prominent members of Baron von Sebottendar?’s Thule Society were Hermetic mages; then again, even more of them belonged to the Verbena Tradition. ‘There was plenty of blame to go arcund, and plenty of bloed and honor shed before the greatest warn history was over Peshaps our brightest hour — our D-Day, as ie were — was the Sundering of Berlin. A huge cabal of Nephandlic masters had preparedan endgame of monumental proportions —noless than, ‘mass sacrifice to summon through the Qlippothic hordes. An. equally huge force of Tradition and Technocratic mages broke the wards, smashed the ritual, and bound the Fallen masters beyond the Great Horizon. AS with the Battle of Flames and Horizon Siege, itwas Hermetic Arts thar closed one gare, opened another,and locked them both securely. House Flambeaulost24 mages, House Tytalus 10, House Quaesitor seven and House Shaea, four. Since 1945, those spells have held. Not even the catastrophes that followed could undo them. CRACKS Tshould have been euphoria. Instead, it was dsrace In the flare of the Atomic Age, our Masters withdrew once more t contemplate man'sruin. Humanity, itseemed sil wanted war Less than 10 years after World War I, other wars began. Ths time, spike powersofdestruction iin Seer hands! Theimpliations drove Archanasters mad, In their Otherworld, they sought escape. ‘And the Technoeracy rolled on. ‘Onearth, humanity rebelled. Hippies and vena slobs wiped their arses on Victoria's sobriety. To mages who'd been raised with manners, the excesses of this age were handfuls of shit smeared across our prineiples. The Cultsts and Dreamspeakers may have prospered, but Hermetic discipline seemed quaint at best. This just made our Masters more fixated on antiquity, and ‘drove them further into their handmade works. Asif they could escape themselves. Resonance isa subtle thing. Unless you look fori, the ‘changes that it works upon your world seem minor. But minor changes breed major shifts. The realms of Dotssetep, Horizon and 0 on grew to0 volatile to last. For all cheir wisdom, our Archmasters forgot le Ltws! dleclaration: Realty belongstohose who claimie. Andasthe witch- folk say, you claim your world simply by existing init. Hermes children are no exception. By building worlds toour design, then isolating ourselves within them, we Hermetics crossed The Tower with The Devil. Our stagnation demanded change. Porthos saw itt Mark Hallward Gillan saw it. The later was cast outat the command of his own House, Fambeau, for seeing it too clearly. As a young, outspoken rebel, he epitomized our newest generation —one that couldnot have recognized its eets as the vital magi they once had been. They had litle use for Horizon less for Doissetep, and no patience lft fr either one: ‘And when the Conflagration came, ie would be this genera tion — your generation — that would help Hermes soar again, oneeth te Sedan os S@UL OF HERITES: INVICTUS The wordisnotjustasoundor writen symbol, The sword is force; itis the power youhavetoexpressand communicate, to think, and thereby to create the cevenisingourife... Theor. thetoolof magi. — Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements ‘Tranquility reigns in the Realm of Forces. Ale thoughts tre cha storms ashe naked eka eas Fam Bp fase 22 elec shoes to sar hse epess pe IZA in comparison to those that raged here not lng ag. ‘Amite nin, tiny creatures feed. Now and then ano ghost cr greedy mortal will crouch upon the tumbled slag, seeing solace or a unfound prize. Occasionally, you might hear raised voices onthe wind, echoes of arguments lng vesoived. The read of ants sts his Hae; even inthe wizards absence, some habits neve de. ‘Smashed hulks of Umbral ships jut from the si like dead men's fingers. Gassne boils mark the spos where scence and high sorcery ward withoulimissonthe driven plone. Buca hat'sover now. The wind alone now scours these raged hls, sweeing masters and slaves alt into the ever-uhring sky. But every soofien, a Master dares the Avatar Stomm to bring a younger magus here. Even more occasionally, a south temps the Fatesand sits the place lone, These ruins mark the end ofan era for the Order of Hermes; more importantly, they mark the birthplace of redemption, And though no visitor has been crass enough to erect a ston herein the name of Hubris, the lessons obvious us the same This is what happens when wisdom gives way to power. This is where the Order died, and was reborn. ®UR SINS REMEIIBERED He called himself *HeyleL” Supposedly the reincarnation ofthe Great Betrayer, he touched off the Daserep Conflagration, led the Concordia War, and inspite a legion of young wizards to rise against theirelders. Although the Seer Aksites disproved his clam, hisalse Feyle ang in che Reckoning, the cracking of our Onder’ chains and the eebirth of its cul Iubegan with rumors. Thenshouts Then thunder. Afisehad been powdered in Doisetep for sometime; false Hye! lie the match. The explosion rocked all known works and brought Doissetep down forever. Maser Mustai ied inthe Coilagration; Master Porthos died to contain it. Without his sacrifice, the devastation woud have proved far worse. Asit was, our Order lost, most of ts wealth, its archives, is Archrmasters and ts shackles Forthisis the leson of Trump 16, The Tower: That which tuilds, can isolace; chat which is constructed can be destroyed. From that destruction comes new feedom. Security is lost, but potential is regained. Soonafter,the Fale Heyelbroke through Horzon'swardswith a smal but vengeful army, Every light, each ins laid by arch- vaanson youngeousinswasbome through that passage andthrown against Horizons walls. Although the assault ended within hours it tuned the city and posone the eal the Concordia We lingered formonths to come. Stragulers fought loyaits across Horzon's vast ‘xpnse,andeventhe most faithful Displeshadroadmitcharthese ae "HU evry vaihvig fee A foe ‘guerillas, while misguided, had a point. The Council had stagnated and used young mages as fodder. Wisdom had taken a back seat to power Inthftermath, we knew things hadto change Fase Heyl had ony spoken what so many knew was tue HARSH RECK@NING Ietook time for that lesson to sink i, however. Doisetep's Conflagration touche off another war, the Warin Rns, during which mages of all factions fought for the treasures left behind. For months, Tradition wizats, Technocrats, Nephandi and anyone else who could reach the Realm of Forces picked the chantry’s bones while adding new ones to the pile, It took the Avatar Storm to end this conflict, and even now the occasional. skiemish flares up when some scavenger manages to teach the ruins, only eo find another already there And then there was Bangladesh. Awakened, perhaps, by the other shockwaves a prehstrie vampire god ended is millenia long slumber ane began eo feed. Our Technocatc cousins, ever ‘subtle, caused an arguably worse catastrophe by dropping a series of ‘nuclear bombs on the creature. Millions of deaths and the potential for more marked anew era in our struggle. The Technocractic leadership made clear its position: We no longer care about the Sleepers. Step to far outside ou ines, and we wll annihilate you House Tytalustefissdtoecept this ultimatum. Toshnugaside the limits placed by this modem age on our ancient Ars, sever Tralievived the Massa War. Heady with tole vampire blood, ‘they plunged the Council of Nine intoa Second Massassa War. The serge, chough brief, was ec lke the fist, cis War ended in a dea, with masive sfering on all sides and was hardest of all, pethaps, onthe Sleepers caught between te blades. Te was all too much, Tm afaid, forthe members of House CCtiamon. Always sensitive to payebic tides, the Criamoni went almos collectively mad fom the mage. Although this venerable House sil survives, i is weak — perhaps beyond salvation, But ‘Criamon hasnot been the only casualty of heseReckoningtimes: the Second Massa War ravaged Hotes Flambeau, Thi and Jansay Theformertwo tok incredible losesin the fighting, while anisary suffering the death of aeron Mustaiat Disetep-—faledto hide ins Infernal comupeion. No one amis i openly, but | believe the Quaesitor strped aside while one of ou fllow Traditions purged ‘this final stain upon our honor. When the killing was done, House Janissary was officially renounced from Hermes’ company. All living ‘yall were branded and censured, and Howse Thigdisalved, its smemberleingtootherHousesorleavingout Tradtioncompletely ‘The turning of Julian's Millennium brought great challenge to our fellowship. Nor since the Dark Ages I think, have the Houses of Hermes felt such biter loss, ‘And yer. HERITIES REBORN Ie should have been the end. Tewasn't Instead, the Con‘lagration was our rebirth, : We dared the fires, rode the shocks. Like so many times before, we met the challenge and survived. Ifthe Fall of Rome, Dark Ages, massassa and our own demons could kill us surely nothing can, ‘The last two years have seen the birth of four new Houses: ¢ Hong Lei, which ties us to our lost cousins in the Far Eas; + House Ngoma, which rights an ancient wrong by admit- ting—atlonglast! —afellowshipof Africansfirstspurnedat the Convocation so many years ago, ‘+ House Solificati, which likewise completes a cycle of those times, restoring what was lost to Hermes’ folds «and House Xaos, which has sen from Thig’swreckage to bring Hermes into the new millennium. ‘Three cycles completed, and a new beginning — an auspi- cious portent for an auspicious time. ‘The overused metaphor of Phoenix seems trite, yet appro- priate here. For through the fires ofown apparent doom, we have risen young again... wiser, one hopes, but unhindered by old restraints, Having survived the worst, we are invictus: uncon. quered, invincible. ‘Our Order is eternal ‘Some say we have lost the Ascension War, Don't believe that for a second. Despite the prevalence of science, the Tech- nnocracy has not triumphed. We have. For Hermes is imagination. Consciousness. Awareness, He's the Crosser of Ways and the Herald of Transformation. He might fly on wings of sorcery, or fiber-optic cable. His wings might gild sandal or personal computers. It doesn't matter. Hermes fs. He dances. So must we. ‘TECHGNeSIS; THE PLAYFUL \X/@RLD ‘The old Archmasters feared the march of technology. Your eneration, though, embraces i. Most vitally, che Slepers em- braceit They reasure it. And despite ourears thar they woulduse {When 1 magiswore oaths t Bonisagus they had no idea ey be initiating a magical group that woukd ast over a ousand yeas with litle change. While things have altered somewhat within che Order its stability hasbeen remarkable | Consider this the Pax Heruetica occured roughly 50 years before Charlemagne, 300 yeas before the Norman Conquest, years before Columbus, 1000 years before the United es and 1200 years before the personal compute. All told ings haven' changed much. ~* ‘The original Houses occupy a special place in the He metic heat. Although several have fallen out offavor —or fallen completely — every Hermetic is expected to know at least the basis ofeach Foundation Hout. (For more details, see Chapter Two.) se + House Bjornaer: A rustic fellowship of shipechangers, founded by a Germanic witch and dedi- THE @RIGINAL ITASTERS ANDH@USES. ~ an i ohgtl technology torob the world of wonder, they've done the opposite. “Technology now crafts new wonders, enchantments no bog-sage could possibly conceive. Itopens minds and illuminates thespirt Look to your theatres and bookstore shelves, television programs and computer games. What do you see? Magic. ‘That's what the people want. The idols of today’s youth ride broomsticks or wield spells. They fight balrogs and cyborgs, learn witchcraft and microtechnology. The children themselves bear Tolkien and Linux for Diaries in the same bookbag; chat in cybertongues to, distant friends; don virtual disguises to enter imaginary worlds where aliens and faeries are one and the same. ‘And when they mature, these brave children lear to think around comers. To fly on words and unlock purles, weave illusions and craft new colors. Mastering arcane codes and words of power, they'lsummon Umbrood that Great Solomon never knew existed And some ofthem even make tha final leap: Awakening ro ‘our Reality. How Hermetic. How like that Trickster, o confound his enemies this way! For using Technocratic tools to undo Technocratic Order isa jest worthy of the Thief of Olympus. Mythic Hermes stole ‘Apollo's cattle; modern Hermes steals the “cattle” from the ‘Technocratic god — using their own goads to do it! By crackling down like lightning through this electronic ‘age, he invites the Sleepers to rise again with the serpents of “Awareness. Upa Tree of Life that’s forever changing, he returns Sophia to the Crown, Andby forcingus,hischildren to craw through underworld ‘on our way to glory, Hermes offers us a mystery worthy of Eleusis. With our graybeards shorn and our dust blown away, let us rise to this new challenge and embrace this new and mystic age Challenge. Birth. Decay. Rebirth Why did it take so long to see? cated toself-mastery. Assumed into the Verbena’ Tradition during the Grand Convocation. + House Bonus: An onder of theoretic, andy Grane Unifer Bonisagus and Trianoma.Stillative, but Bey. ‘© House Criamon: Bizare esoficiss dedicated!to mad mui una secretive lsor-masterCtiamon, whospoke in idle (when he spoke at al). Sabsurmed into Ex Miscellane™™ dling the 1700s and nearty wiped out during the 1990s ‘+ House Diedne Celtic wizards descended from Druidic traditions. Founded by youngpriestes Diedne, who renounced ther mentor to join Bonisagus. Wiped out during the Schism ‘War, but reputed to he “out there somewhere.” ‘+ Hlouse Flambeau: Tempestucus order fie-wizards dedicated the cleansing ame. Founded by Iberian nobleman Flambeau, this House remainsaliveand well n the Istcentuny ah rbiton Social diplomats, versed inarts aswell led by Roman nobleman with no great taste for use declined during the Middle Ages, joined Ex. ae near 1300, flourished during the Renaissance, ‘and currently enjoys new vitality House Mercere: Masters of politics, communication and conspiracy, weak in magic but strong in will, Founded by ‘Mercere, who lost his powers soon after the House's founila- tion, Subsumed into House Fortunae during the 1930s after 300 years in Ex Miscellanea, * House Merinita: Fae-mystics with nature affinities. Founded by faerie-blooded Lady Merinita of the Wood, the House declined after most ofits notables disappeared into the | Othenworlds. Involved in Ex Miscellanea since the 1300s, ‘nce waxing, now waning. + House Quaesitor: Judges and awgivers, empowered by Master Guernicus and Trianoma to enforce ordes within the (Onder. Still actives buttered by years of oversight and misudgment. and intrigue, assembled from acultofpersonality around Lond ‘Tremere. Afterdominating the Order in itsearly years, House ‘Tremete tumed the Onder against House Diedne, perhaps to conceal its own dabblings with vampirism. Thought exeermi- nated in the Middle Ages, bu very much alive... of undead, sit were... todays * House Tytalus: Devotees of Supreme Will gatheted warlike Master Tytalus to challenge other wizards. Always ‘ful the House now les in euinater the Second Massits Wear. ‘* House Verditius: Master artisans who make wondrous devices. Founded by Verditius, who never mastered a single spel, the House prospered during the Renaissance, fll out of fayorduring the Industrial Revolution, and his become quite powerful today. of Newer Houses: at * Despite its traditional nature, the Onder reco innova tion... toapoint. Ths, several new Houseshaye}ined andl the Order since its foundation. The record for such Houses is mixed, hut successful enough to encourage Future experiments. + House Ex Miscellanea (founded 817): A collection of various “exotic” egliions, founded by Prix bani Tytalus «decades after the PAX Hermetica. Often a dumpingground for od Houses and a spawning pool for new ones. House Fortunae (founded 1910): Scers and “Thronomancers, founded within Ex Miscellanea by Hassamé al-Jadidiibou Farid in 1900s and promoted to full House status in 19368 + House Golo (1171-1188): FocerunnetstotheSons of Ether, founded within Ex Miscellanea by Lorenzo Golo to vy ve SOE Steyr, ytd ait, + House Tremere: Charismatic masters of dominance [promote magical science. When Golo quit the Onder in 1188, “Hose memberseither moved tothe early Orderof Reason, or ‘ined Boni Verditiuss ae + House! (2000): Chinese ritualist descended from the Wai Lung. Founded by Hsiao Kuel, and currently _ander probationary status * louse Janissary (1700-2001): Fearsome Arabian Turkish warsmages. Founded byDincer Albay and-once ‘ery influential, Janissary wos crippled by the Doissetep Con- flagration and wiped out during the Second Massassa War, * House Luxor (1872-1936): Fist American House, founded to explore common ground betweniscience, situa jamand religion. Founded by Max’Theon and Paschal Beverly Randbolf (the frst black Hermetic Master); later crippled bythe Great Depression and subsumed into the Sons of Ether ‘House Ngoma (2001) High rrualsts descended rom ‘African would-be Tradition. Founded within the Order by Alyissha Abodeet, but rooted in the300s ‘House Shaca (1412/1982): Masters of language and. Re: noun fordiabolism, Valdas hecameas lnfsenal ect which may stl be active in rural England * House Xaos (2001): Neo-Discordlan chaos mages, founded by Kallist fom the ruins of House Thig, considered. a joke by most Hermetics ¢ *¢ House Ziracah (1327-1780): Mastersof Ars Cupiditae, founded by Lady Alimont Zracaby later asociated with Ed- wan! Kelly Weakened during Nasby Catastrophe, destroyed when survivors ran afoul of King George ih. q eT FRA CEL TE TEA TR MCE TS. Fo lily sense I deem meets the ymbalical, ane mighty alphabet For infart minds Placed with our backs to bright Reality That we may earn ath yourg urwounded ken, ‘The substance from the shadow. — Coleridge, “The Destiny of Nations RANK AND PRIVILEGE The Order of Hermes is the most rigidly hierar- ‘THE APPRENTICE chical of the Nine Mystic Traditions. In years decision-makingwithintheOnderhinged Every mage in the Order shares one simple distinction: all fon the whims of the most powerful mages, as were once newcomers to this proud and ancient Tradition. Most represented by their ranking within the Nine served out that time as Apprentices ofthe Order, recruited by a Degrees (the Order for quanti ded them through the firs fumbling ~ tic advancement). Though influence stages of the demanding Hermetic curricula and who introduced PS) played a significant role, it was raw, sor them, in time, tothe intricacies ofthe Spheres. Hermetic mages power that served as the primary coin of the draw their Apprentices from many different places: the halls of (Order's realm. Even today, chis system lar military, rigorous scientific or scholarly disci- holds, with the words ofthe most potent mages shown greater _ pines, esoteric religious or mystic doctrines or, ofcourse, one of deference and carrying greater weight than those of younger and the several hereditary Hermetic families that till remain. Each, Jess experienced willvorkers. This formula, supported by the _ would-be mater or pater chooses an Apprentice that best suits his *might makes right” ethic of certémen, hasserved toensure that other own personality field(s) of es greater command of the Spheres remains the surest way tomake but, virtually without exception, Hermetic ‘one's voice heard within che Order of Hermes. qualities: a focused and hungry mind, a disciplined spirit, the in this low world mentor of somesort who academia, th Charter Tw Tie Wi ANDTHE WeRD 37 3 SAb Wee Yry ay ‘ vey sini iti ve is Cul ed Peed vague awareness that something is “wrong” with the world, and. the drive to rise above that “wrongnese” through the pursuit of personal betterment. RECRUITITIENT Unsil very recently, the tsk of actualy gathering up Appren- tices for the Order fell almost exclusively to the mages of House FFortunae (who were regarded as the most sociable ofthe Order's willvorkers). With their knowledge of probability and fate, che ‘Numismancers were generally viewed as being the most effective at determining ideal candidates for Order recruitment (the best and brightest among Sleeper). The fal of Doisetep and Horizon, the deaths ofthe Masters, the Second Massasa War and the restof the general chaos that has come to envelop the Order oflate, however, have all conspired to pura cramp in House Forrunae's style, ‘Within the past year orso, the Order's chains of communi- cation have degraded considerably, and requests for new “Apprentices are just as likely to get lost, misiled or ignored as letters of greeting, demands for Tass or desperate pleas for help from far flung Horizon Realms. Thus, many Order mages have retumed to the custom of hunting down their own Apprentices. Despite the extra hardships such an endeavor brings (as Order ‘mages rarely monitora prospective Apprentice forlessthan afew ‘years before actively approaching him), most Hermetics still take their duties to train new mages for the Order very seriously and manage to find or, more often, make the time. During the course ofthe recruitment process (and itis impor- tanttoalwayshearin mind that the Ondersrecruitmentisa proces), the aspiring mentor will attempt to secretly test the prospective student using a variety of difficult logical, ethical and esoteric conundrums. Ifat all possible, these will be administered as incon- spicuous occurrences inthe individual’ life. Hermetic Adepts and Masters who occupy postions of authority in the feds from which, the Orcderrecruts have the eases time ofthis naturally, thoughthe inventive mind within the Tradition can almost always find some ‘way to slip a trial into a candidate's daily affairs. If the potential initiate does wel with mostorall ofthese rests, the would-be mentor willapproach the individual more directly, makingsocial contact (i she is not already known to the prospective recruit) and perhaps inviting him to join in discussions, a scholarly circle ora Sleeper ‘ccultfellowship (since che Orderhaseyesand in luencein vircually all of the marginally reputable ones). Afier this, the candidate i allowed to sit for a while, to assess his capacity for patience and, ‘conversely, his sense of initiative. Both have a place within the ‘Order, though those who ean wait out this period of infrequent ‘contact while still managing to forge ahead through personal incution and drive ae most highly prized by the Order. ‘The purpose ofthis process isto weed out the unworthy, jstas thealchemist eliminates the hase leavingonly the sublime. About nine outoften such potential initiates “wash out dingthisperiod,, proving themselves, by this law or that, unsuitable for induction, into the Order of Hermes. Always quick to gamer favors among its, allies, though, the Orders more than happy tosteera failed initiate toward a more appropriate Tradition, ifthere isa chance that such, person might be of use. Some rare few prospects actually Awaken