Known Cells of the Cult
The following is an incomplete list of the various Cells of the Cult of the Illuminated. These are the ones primarily known to the Inner Circle and the Training Camps. At any given time, any of these may be defunct due to exposure or violence, and others may have been established by splinter groups or members forced to flee other cells. Generally speaking, though, as long as a cell has a priest capable of praying to the Illuminated Heavens, it is a short time before the Masters of the Cult are aware of their presence.
Cells in the North
- Wallport (Outpost): Very nearly the only strong Cult presence in the North - other than the Sequestered Tabernacle, of course - lies in the small shipping city of Wallport. Wallport's Cult presence is an outpost, rather than a temple, serving the needs of the Cult as a stopping point for all cultists coming into the North to be trained at the Sequestered Tabernacle.
- Outpost: The Cult maintains an outpost in the Weeping Maiden, a dockside brothel of low repute. Built in a former warehouse that actually extends out over the water, the Weeping Maiden is perfect for the Cult's purposes - it generates a good income, there are strangers in and out of it at all hours of the day and it has ample space to harbor visitors for long periods of time in its upper floors. It even has a means of entering and leaving secretly, through a trapdoor in the kitchens, with a rope ladder dropping down to the water below. This allows for not just quick escapes, but also permits small boats to come up underneath the brothel, bringing cultists in through a passage not easy monitored.
- Leader: Madame Nettle, a tall, whip-thin woman with graying hair and a face marked by too many decades of strong cosmetics use, leads the local cult. She has had a hard life, and it shows. The Promise of Day greatly appealed to her, and when she converted whole-heartedly, she quickly began to spread the word among her girls and boys. Those who didn't take to the new religion were weeded out quickly, and other cultists who'd worked in similar circumstances brought in to round out the numbers here. Now, she works hard to assist the cult and the small, starting temples around the southern portion of the North in any way she can. Her second-in-command, a man who is called Oldest Brother by the brothel's workers, is a priest of the Cult, and Madame Nettle's closest confidant.
- Allied Gods: Two small gods local to Wallport have been inducted into the Illuminated Heavens: Swirling Surf, the god of Wallport Harbor, and Whispers, a Mask god fascinated by human sexual relationships. Swirling Surf wishes to see the polluting of his harbor cease, and the Cult has promised work towards that end, while Whispers is simply fascinated with the high drama and secrecy that is the Cult's oeuvre.
- Dehenna, Dragon Coast (Temple): A small cluster of Cultists have established a temple-cell in the Slave Coast city of Dehenna, a mining satrapy. They are a very small cell - no more than six or seven in number, including their priest, Windless Sky. Their temple is based out of a small woodland shrine to one of the old Dehennan goddesses, Golden Yjara.
- Allied Gods: Though she has nominally given in to the Immaculate Order's bullying, Golden Yjara secretly helps organize the local cult. A very minor goddess of the now wild-growing tart golden Dehennan apples, Yjara has proven an important part of the local Cult's operations, as she takes a much more active hand in the temple's business than many other gods normally do. She has even gone as far as recruiting two other gods whose worship was once strong among the people of Dehenna, but has greatly fallen off since Dehenna was enslaved: Entwined Blossoms, a goddess of marriages (ignored now that slaves do not marry), and the Wild Runner, a god of hunting in the Flamewood of Dehenna, angry that the Dynasts have taken for themselves the sole privilege of hunting in the Flamewood.
- Amber River, Dragon Coast (Temple): Amber River's temple is in a somewhat tenuous position. They were originally a temple established in Serrat. However, its sole godly ally recently betrayed them under pressure from the Immaculate Order, resulting in a purge that nearly wiped them out to a man. Those who escaped did so thanks to one of the members' contacts with smugglers, who took them to Amber River and (at the request of the cultists themselves) sold them to a new owner who immediately split them up and put them to work in various endeavors. They have only recently begun meeting up again, on nights of the new moon, to try and figure out what to do next. As yet, they have no allied local gods, and are frankly hesitant to approach any of them, for obvious reasons.
- Whitewall (Temple): A temple led by the fervent young martial artist priest named Peaceful Iron, the Whitewall cell is probably one of the newest of the Northern cells. For a while, Iron's efforts went unrewarded, only managing to recruit some of the poorer Underton residents to his cause. In recent days, however, Iron has managed to garner more converts from an unlikely place: the martial arts club known as the Northern Sky-Shaking Brotherhood. The Whitewall cell doesn't have a proper temple as yet, though Iron is hoping to convert Master Uncompromising Integrity to the Cult's Doctrine, and convince him to turn the club's dojo into a Cult temple. For now, the few cultists meet in Iron's small dormitory he rents in Underton.
- Leader: Peaceful Iron is a recent graduate of the training program at the Sequestered Tabernacle, and his fervency is equaled only by his skill in martial arts. A god-blooded son of one of the Cult's many godly allies in Creation, he has partially mastered the Fallen Blossom style. He now avidly studies the Even Blade style of Master Uncompromising Integrity, hoping to prove the worthfulness of his creed through his martial skill. Indeed, Peaceful Iron's entire plan for establishing a temple is to become a martial arts champion and attract adherents to his cell in that fashion.
Cells in the Scavenger Lands & East
- Nexus (Temple): One of the rare few places in Creation where the Cult does not operate in total secrecy, the Nexus Temple's population is over a hundred adherents, and a dozen priests. The Cult of Nexus is just another strange religion in the city of Nexus, and their priests are found right alongside the others, preaching to passersby on thoroughfares. Their message has won some favor in the squalid city, too. Many of its members proselytize and preach, distributing tracts about the Coming of Day in their distinctive yellow hemp robes. They sell bright morning, and often defend the downtrodden and weak from thieves and other bullies.
- Temple: The Nexus Temple is based out of a set of joined and well-defended warehouses owned by the leader of the temple, Can Dance. Many of the full-time adherents of the temple, nearly sixty people in all, work here for nothing more than room and board, as they know that Can Dance's operations directly benefit the Cult. The Nexus Temple is defended not merely by its membership, but also by the mercenary companies Can Dance hires to guard her properties.
- Leader: The merchant Can Dance was once a successful rising figure in the Guild. She left the Guild with her conversion, and now works solely for the Cult as one of its most visible, public figures. She treats the Nexus Temple as not just a religion, but a business - one that she intends to make successful. She considers rival sects to be simply competitors, and has coopted and absorbed several smaller cults. Can Dance often has to deal with assassination attempts, both by rival cults and by her old compatriots in the Guild. As such, she never goes anywhere without her two bodyguards, Rose and Thorn, a pair of Wood-aspected twin outcastes.
- Allied Gods: X
There are a large number of settlements with three or four Cultists, all watching the skies for signs of the Shining Ones. They are spread through the southern edge of the Scavenger Lands, right up to the borders of the Eastern forests. Quite a few missionary priests travel through here, making contact with cultists in the Hundred Kingdoms and the Marukan Alliance.
- Rhabdoman (Outpost): Edge of Larjyn. This small village is a sort of headquarters for the Cult in the southern Scavenger Lands. It is the eventual destination for all missionaries and circuit riders who roam the area. Rhabdoman is a tiny village, very easy to miss, built around a number of skullweed and bright morning plantations, all owned by the strange visionary Maariv.
- Maariv the Outcast: An outcast beastman from the Arczeckh horde, Maariv's power-seeking journey into the Wyld warped him, but it also gave him a vision of the Coming of Day. With his return, he sought out the Cult and quickly put his powerful spiritual gifts and willingness to sacrifice everything to the Cult's use. He has a prodigious bright morning habit, one which results in frequent visions, and he maintains a harem of wives and a large pack of children who all help work the plantations and set aside bright morning caches for the priests of the Scavenger Lands.
- Thorns: There was once a temple located in Thorns. With the attack by the Mask of Winters, however, its population was destroyed, leaving behind a collection of doctrine scrolls, records and resources of the cell.
Cells in the South
- Chiaroscuro (Temple): Located in the red glass ruins near the Plaza, the Chiaroscuro temple is relatively newly-established, as the Cult of the Illuminated was unwelcome in Chiaroscuro after the public visions of Vax, who proclaimed the Tri-Khan and his Dynastic allies to be agents of corruption. Though there are only a dozen members and a single priest, in addition to their leader, the Chiaroscuro temple is growing quickly. Its membership are well-armed with glass weapons, and pride themselves on their ability to move quickly through the red-glass ruins rapidly, which has assisted them in rescuing two Solar Exalted in the past, and keeping them ahead of the Tri-Khan's men and the Dynasty. The Chiaroscuro Temple make their ends meet by raiding Guild merchants.
- Temple: The temple itself is an ancient tower, its entry actually buried beneath glass rubble and wholly inaccessible from the streets. Only those who know of the tunnel connecting its basements to the cellars of an old guard-tower across the street can access it, and the tunnel entrance is always guarded.
- Leader: Phee is a former Varangian soldier, sold into slavery after she was convicted of caste-crime. She escaped her master in Chiaroscuro and found refuge in the Plaza, under Grandmother Bright's protection. Shortly thereafter, she hear the words of the Cult and joined them, quickly rising to a position of leadership among the other mortal trainees of Kether Rock. She runs her temple like a military cadre, and an armory full of glass weaponry.
- Allied Gods: X
- Kirighast, Harborhead (Outpost): X
- Temple: X
- Leader: X
- Allied Gods: X
- City of the Steel Lotus, An-Teng (Temple): X
- Amahal, Delzahn Empire (Outpost): X
- Volat, Varang City-States (Temple): X
Cells in the West
There are no major temples or outposts in the West, though some minor ones do exist.
- Abalone (Temple): X
Cells on the Blessed Isle
- Lord's Crossing (Temple): The only real Cult cell on the Blessed Isle, the Lord's Crossing cell has found a great many adherents with the anger and fear that come of so many deaths of loved ones in the Tepet Legions. Recruiters are happy to explain that with the coming of the Illuminated Kingdom, the Dynasts will be made to pay for their neglect of the lives of their loved ones. Illuminated thieves and raiders hit the ample trade that comes through Lord's Crossing.
- Temple: The temple itself is located in the old White Egg Marble Mine, and many of its live-in adherents are residents of the mining camp and miners themselves. All initiates to the White Egg temple bear criss-crossing scars that identify them and their rank in the local cell.
- Leader: Solander Kaj is a mine overseer who turned to a life of fencing, fixing and organized crime after a mining accident left him crippled. He now regrets his past activities, which contributed to the Cycle of Night, and now uses his contacts and skills to the benefit of the Cult. He bought a nearly-played out mine a number of years ago, and uses it to disguise his true income and the activities of the Cult. He has overseen the passage of at least one Shining One from out of Lord's Crossing.
- Allied Gods: There are a few local allied gods who are part of the Illuminated Heavens, notably Turning Point, a minor god of stoneworking and masonry, Stone of Clouds, a god of white marble and Unintended Wealth, a god of the discovery of unexpected veins of gemstone.
- Sion (Ally): Though not even truly a cell, the city of Sion has an ally of the Cult - Oak, the leader of the city's guardians. The son of one of the Sidereals of the Cult, Oak assists them out of devotion to his father...and because of the services of the Three Peerless Courtesans. He has a priest of the Cult in his number, and when the White Egg temple needs his help, they send him a book of poetry encoded in doctrinal code.
- Allied Gods: Sion's infamous prostitute goddesses, the Three Peerless Courtesans are old adherents of the Gold Faction. They once occupied much more important positions in Heaven, under Solar rule, and would like to do so again. So, they assist where they may, including by keeping Oak more than content with sexual favors.