The Feast of Wisdom: Midsummer 2005
Midsummer 2005 is when it all went to hell.
Someone first started calling it the Feast of Wisdom, the Epulae Consilium, and the name stuck. Overnight, the city's Awakened simply disappeared without any apparent trace. Strange omens presaged it, but ultimately no one really knows what happened. They were simply gone.
Though the Awakened exercised their vaunted Wisdom for a short time, avoiding the city entirely, in the end, the temptation was too much. A massive metropolitan area filled with sanctums, libraries, Hallows, Demesnes and the treasures within them, totally bereft of all guardians or owners. It was like the California Gold Rush all over, except with the heirs of Atlantis.
Its cabals were hardly the finest building blocks of a new society: mostly very young cabals who hadn't had a chance to establish themselves elsewhere, with a smattering of outcasts and the agents of more powerful magi. In between scouring the city's magical landscape, looking for lost lore, these mages found common ground and established the Consilium of the Phoenix, a consilium filled with good intentions and symbols of rebirth and second chances. When they weren't playing scavenger hunt or politics, the mages of New York City sought answers to the mysteries of the Epulae Consilium.
The Feast of Flesh: Midsummer 2006
Perhaps they ought to have hunted harder, for on the one year anniversary of the Feast of Wisdom, another horror transpired: an attack by cannibalistic zombie-like victims of spirit possession who nearly tore the city apart. Many died in the so-called Feast of Flesh.
In the aftermath, many of the city's mages fled, and the Consilium of the Phoenix fell apart. New York's Awakened society became akin to a lawless Western town, filled with the desperate and greedy. Cabals swooped in, hunting for treasures for a few weeks at a time before fleeing. No one maintained Consilium, and it was the law of the jungle.
As Midsummer approached once more, the rag-tag magi there fled the city entirely.
The Feast of Sin: Midsummer 2007
At the apex of Midsummer, wielders of the Fate Arcanum the world over experienced a terrible moment of nausea and horror. A few Sleepwalkers - those who were likely near Awakening as it was - also experienced these sudden visions, a traumatic Awakening that drove most of them insane. It was certainly centered on New York, though no one could tell what it was.
Cautiously, the Adamantine Arrow and Guardians of the Veil sent scouts into New York to investigate. The scouts returned shortly afterwards, indicating that they found nothing of note. Once more the renegades and unestablished magi reentered the city, buoyed on reassurances that it was now safer than ever to do so.
Reassurances that were wholly false. Those mages who entered the city all were transformed in some abhorrent fashion into things that called themselves Sineaters. Part possession and part Legacy-style soul-shaping, the transformation into Sineaters happened to every mage who entered there...even those whose souls were already Legacy-shaped.
After terrible treachery from Sineaters in Consilii all over the world, the Guardians led a crackdown on those magi who'd been to New York. They discovered that even some who'd left town before the Feast of Sin had been transformed. They were discovered and excised, all sentenced to Gilgul to ensure the twisting of the soul did not transcend incarnation.
Now New York is known among the Pentacle Orders as the Adesus - "the Eaten." It is forbidden by all the Orders, operating at the highest levels, for any magi to enter into any of the Five Boroughs. Patrol cabals of Adamantine Arrows keep watch to make sure no cabals enter its territories, slaughtering any who do. These patrol-cabals report to three different headquarters, each manned by Guardian inquisitors who scrupulously ensure that none of the Arrows have become Sineaters while tending to their duties. In turn, these mages are subject to close scrutiny by elders of all five of the Orders, who likewise oversee their purity.
No one comes in...to the best of the patrol-cabals' efforts. But sometimes, someone does come out. Whether these are mages that are sneaking into New York or simply newly-Awakened who came to the Watchtowers in the city, the fact is that occasionally mages are discovered who have become corrupted and must be put down quickly.
These are, of course, only the ones the patrol-cabals can find. They fear the subtle corruption has already spread again, leaving the Orders in a state of fear.
The Sineater Crusade
This is the name given to the task force of magi who are dedicated to first containing and then studying the Sineater phenomenon and the loss of New York. Though they have numbers that rival that of many consilii, they are explicitly not one - they have no intention of settling long-term in the area they occupy. They have a job to do, and intend to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. In terms of Order-based organization, the Crusade is organized more like a pair of caucuses, rather than a consilium.
The Sanctified Offices
Three separate Sanctums operate as the headquarters of the Sineater Crusade, and it is led by three elder magi.
- The Reliquary Office: This office functions to provide the Crusader Cabals and other Offices with the resources they need to accomplish their tasks. Though they are tapped into extensive networks of ready finances, this is not the extent of their work: they also strive to provide aid in the form of useful magics, contacts and personnel if necessary. The Reliquary Office is overseen by Midas Rex, a Senior Famulus Inheritor Guardian of the Forge Masters legacy. The Reliquary Office also works with a small pool of Silver Ladder volunteers to lend their unique talents to the tasks of the Crusade.
- The Inquiry Office: This office acts as the central repository for the Crusade's information. They do not simply gather intelligence and perform research, however - they also conduct the Soul-Inquiries and Oeneric Investigations necessary to identify Sineaters. The Inquiry Office is overseen by the Haruspice, a Magister Prophet Guardian of the Eleventh Question legacy. She functions as the epopt for the erstwhile Guardian caucus portion of the Crusade. The Inquiry Office also works with a small pool of Mysterium volunteers to lend their unique talents to the tasks of the Crusade.
- The Templar Office: This office concerns itself with acts of violence - preparing for them, planning them and recovering from them. By necessity, the Crusader Cabals interact only with the Templar Office, to provide an additional layer against possible contamination in the event of corruption of members of the Crusader Cabals. This office is run by the man called Elder Blade, a Magister Black Tower Arrow of the Gaolers of Ialdabaoth legacy. He serves as the defacto Adamant Sage for the Arrows of the Crusade.
The Crusader Cabals
Five Adamantine Arrow cabals work to isolate and contain New York. Their mandate is simple: operate on the front lines to prevent any mages from entering into New York through diplomacy and force if necessary, and to prevent any mages from leaving it, through use of lethal force first and foremost. The Crusaders are all aware that they are at the forefront of risk of contamination by Sineaters, and know to not resist when the masked representatives of the Inquiry Office show up with sedative darts and bags for their heads.
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