Hans Sloane Foundation
Mysterium Caucus • London, Great Britain
London's Mysterium caucus is one of the youngest in Europe, having replaced the original Scriveners of Londinium, a caucus whose origins stretched back to the founding of some of the British Isle's original monasteries in the Dark Ages. Fierce politics raged within the old caucus in 1750s London, leading to a splintering of the caucus. Within thirty years, the Hans Sloane Foundation was the only remaining Mysterium caucus, and inherited the majority of the old Scriveners' archives.
Though they are close allies with the House of Elder Writings in Cambridge, the Hans Sloane Foundation are considered lickspittles too eager to adhere to consilium doctrines and not enough to Mysterium precepts by the caucuses of Wales, Exeter, and Canterbury. The Hans Sloane Foundation meets their disapproval with a half-shrug at best, though this does put some of the finest mystagogues of the British Isle in frequent competition with one another.
In London, the Foundation is happy to entertain requests by Consilium members for assistance in acquiring magical lore. Those outside the consilium must frequently foster friendships with Foundation members in order to get access to the incredible occult wealth of the London Athenaeum. Those outside London happy to bring criticisms to the Foundation's doors point out that a great deal of that occult wealth rightfully belongs to the Awakened of the nations from which the Foundation absconded them, riding the coat-tails of the British Museum's tendency to help itself to cultural artifacts of nations colonized by the British Empire.
Athenaeum: The British Museum
The athenaeum of the London caucus is housed in the British Museum. The vast place has many back galleries and storage spaces tucked away from public access, and the Mysterium makes use of them quite well. Indeed, it is believed that the most secure vaults of the Mysterium's lorehouse reside in pocket dimensions attached to the museum, and created in such a way that they seem to be ordinary (if secure) parts of the mortal building, but are anything but.
The outer entries to the museum are sigiled with the Atlantean symbol used for athenaea the world over, and there are Sleepwalkers and junior Mysterium positioned in places to note the entry of Awakened visitors to the museum. If they are accompanied by Sleepers, they are largely ignored during their time here, the assumption being that they are not here in a magical capacity. Those who come alone or in the company of other mages, need only roam around a short time before they will be approached by one of the Mysterium here, who verify their identity and ask what they desire help with.
Like all athanaea, the British Museum Athenaeum trades in kind: they will provide lore in exchange for lore, and those who come seeking it with none to give are either turned away (if they are unknown to the caucus) or possibly offered the opportunity to give up a future favor. Truly important or rare lore will often only be traded away in kind or with the surrendering of a soulstone by the seeking mage.
Caucus House: The Athenaeum
Confusing matters most is the fact that the Mysterium does not casually meet in the vaults of the British Museums - it is a threat to security to have such a population of magi wandering in and out of the space. Instead, they foster a club called The Athenaeum Club in St. James' (also called, appropriately, Clubland). All Mysterium who are members of the Hans Sloane Foundation are granted memberships.
While the club's Sleeper members believe that the upper floor consists of rooms that might be reserved for private functions (and when they inquire, the rooms are always already reserved), they are in fact given over to the Mysterium who are members. (It should be noted that Mysterium women are also given access to the upper chambers, but they must adhere to the men-only rules of the lower parts of the club and not descend into them). The upper chambers include a large lounge, several bedrooms which may be lent out to visiting guests or Mysterium members that may have some need for them, as well as the Chief Scrivener's Office, which contains a portal that can transport members directly into the vaults of the Museum.
The Mysterium finds the maintenance of the club useful for multiple reasons: in addition to seeing to a need to provide space for caucus members to gather socially without threatening the security of the true athenaeum, the club also provides the Order access to some of the finest creative and academic minds in Britain, who are often invited to speak at its gatherings. These they keep an eye out for signs of Sleepwalkers or nascent Awakening, helping to foster this when they can.
The Society of Owls
This society is an open secret among membership of the Athenaeum club, generally thought to be a secret Masons-like society made up of folk with an interest in classical mysticism and esoteric philosophy, and not enough good sense. In reality, the Society of Owls (whose members are marked with signet rings depicting the sacred owl of Athena) are all Sleepwalkers and others who are aware of the Awakened world in some capacity. They endeavor to make themselves quite useful in a variety of contexts, including being in the Upper Chambers gatherings where they see that glasses are filled and any needs of the Awakened membership are tended to. The Society performs this duty not as wait staff, but as a host might; theirs is a dignified gathering, and it would be unseemly to suggest that these enlightened men and women are mere servants to the mystagogues.
Mysterium who need the short-term assistance of a Sleepwalker helper or two are accorded the right to approach the Society and request such assistance, though the Society is under no obligation to lend that aid. They are also permitted to ask for magical favors in return for their help, although they are also known to simply offer their aid without request of payment for notable members of the caucus.
The Athenaeum Club's Upper Chambers are always open to membership. In addition, however, they also host formal gatherings.
- Symposia: Four times a year, the caucus hosts visiting mystagogues to speak on their pet projects and philosophies, providing an esteemed place for Mysterium from around the world to be hosted and to bring their own studies into the light of regard from the caucus as a whole. Successes here quite frequently lead to other invitations, and to esteem within the Order as a whole. Each Symposium usually has anywhere between three and five guest speakers, and are held over a two day period.
- Caucus Gathers: The caucus gathers on the first Sunday of every month, starting promptly at 2pm. These are generally tedious gatherings where the studies of the caucus's membership are discussed, with an eye toward successes (which might be lauded and employed by others in the caucus) and problems (which might be assisted with by others in the caucus). Daduchoi are expected to show up, though will not be questioned for the occasional absence. Order Hierophants run the gatherings, and almost never miss them.
- Esoterical Undertakings: The Egregori - who are also the active sponsors and cultivators of the Society of Owls - also host the occasional ritual exploration of the Atlantean Mysteries, available for any members of the Order or the upper echelons of the Society of Owls to take part in.
Status in the Hans Sloane Foundation
The Foundation adheres to the traditional rankings of the Mysterium.
Mysterium Status •••• to •••••
- Thoth, of the Seekers of the Cenacle, who acts as both Solium Alae in the Consilium as well as Curator for the Hans Sloane Foundation. (Egregori faction)
- The Silent Keeper, a solitary mystagogue who most agree could contest Thoth for the position of Curator if he were interested in such whatsoever. Indeed, there are those who believe that the Silent Keeper was Thoth's mentor and initiator into the Order, and that he is distracted with his search for archmagedom.
Mysterium Status •• to •••
Mysterium Status – to •
- Bellerophon, a solitary. (Archaeomancers faction)
Titles in the Hans Sloane Foundation
The Curator is the leader of the caucus, responsible for the protection and strengthening of the Athenaeum. Curators must be Senior Daduchoi (Status •••+) or higher.
- Thoth, of the Seekers of the Cenacle. The old and stern Thoth, a master of river magics who goes about with an ibis-headed cane, functions in this role, and has done so for nigh on thirty years now. One of the Councilors of the consilium, he holds the Solium Alae on behalf of the Mysterium.
Savants are the acknowledged experts in their respective fields, prepared and willing to lend their lore to the use of the caucus as a whole. Each possesses at least two fields of study, one mundane and one dealing with Awakened lore. Savants are always Daduchoi (Status ••+) or higher.
Censors act to preserve but also secure certain dangerous artifacts and lore, until they can be unlocked for their lore or are needed. Censors are always at least Senior Neokoroi (Status •+).
Individuals responsible for acquiring lore and relics of Supernal origin that should be in Awakened or Pentacle hands. Acquisitors are always at least Senior Neokoroi (Status •+).
- Bellerophon, solitary. A remarkable horseman frequently employed by Mysterium teams traveling into inhospitable climes.
Cabals in the Hans Sloane Foundation
- The Seekers of the Cenacle, an ancient fraternity of Mysterium magi dedicated to recovering the lost lore of Atlantis whose founding actually precedes the establishment of the Hans Sloane Foundation - in fact, they led the break-away from the old Scriviners caucus. It is they who maintain the Athenaeum, and those who bring them rare books and artifacts are likely to win sponsorship or even membership, in some cases. They are also willing to take ancient artifacts of historical value in exchange for slightly more powerful or more useful ones, created by members of the cabal. The Seekers maintain the Athenaeum, which is located in a series of vaults beneath the British Museum, in North-Central London. They also keep a public sanctum overlooking Bedford Square, near the museum.
- Monks of Highgate, a Vassal Cabal of necromancers and funerealists who seek the secrets of the dead – and work to keep them. The Monks of Highgate are based out of a small, poorly funded monastery overlooking the grounds of Highgate Cemetary, tucked well away from the main road and church. Highgate Cemetary is found in Kentish Town, in Northwest London. Sponsored in the Consilium by the Order of Brigantia.
- The Snakemen, a Vassal Cabal of thieves, burglars and criminal types often used as the Seekers of the Cenacle's pet thieves. The Snakemen run a large criminal gang that operates out of back alleys and miserable drink-houses in the filthy streets of East London. They have a subterranean sanctum accessible only through a maze-like profusion of guarded sewers and other tunnels. Sponsored in the Consilium by the Lions of Charing Cross.
- The Transcendence Gather, a Vassal Cabal focused around spiritism, transcendentalism and the exploration of the Astral for traces of Atlantean lore, the Transcendence Gather has placed its roots firmly in the theosophist and spiritualism movements of the era. The Transcendence Gather cabal runs its affairs out of the very posh social club known as the Veiled House in West London, notorious for hosting visiting charlatans and spiritists. Sponsored in the Consilium by the Sublime Lodge.
- Hope of Apollo, a Common Cabal of artists is based out of the Canterbury Music Hall, in Lambeth, South London.
- Society of the Steel Ley, a strange Common Cabal of mages with an interest in odd Mysteries that seem to be attached to railways, the Society is largely reclusive, and has thoroughly infiltrated the infrastructure in London that oversees rail travel of all types. In recent days, they came into conflict with the Seers of the Throne, pridefully resisting getting assistance from the Consilium until the Praetorian Seers had nearly wiped them out. Though no one is sure if it is a sanctum or not, it is known that a member of the Society can always be found at the Broad Street rail station in the Square Mile.