Order of the Twilight Adepts
|The Order of the Twilight Adepts|
|Alignment:||Mysticism 5, Acosmism 4|
|Headquarters:||Northern Veldt; Southern Veldt|
The Order of the Twilight Adepts is a secretive order of spellcasters rumored to be headquartered in the Veldt. It is said that this cabal of sorcerers practice ancient and forgotten magics. They are often deformed, crazed, eccentric, and unpredictable.
The wizards of the Order are identified by enchanted metal amulets which bear the mark of six crescent moons and dark gray robes which are worn with a hood covering the face. Accounts of people who have come across an Adept describe them as mysterious with a sinister air about them, and sometimes incomprehensible.
Their strange rituals and experiments with arcane secrets sometimes leave them twisted and scarred both physically and mentally. It is rare to find a member of the Order who does not have some kind of physical abnormality either preexisting or set on by magic. Albinism, blindness, skin lesions, limb deformity, scarring, or otherwise monstrous appearance are common traits among the Order. Those sorcerers in the world, particularly those of the Congress Arcanum who are aware of the Order consider its members to be misguided, insane, or perhaps addicted to the very magic they study.
Before the Veldt was the vast expanse of plains that it is in the common day, ten thousand years ago the magically-advanced human kingdom of Celigar fell there under its own might, its citizens crazed and dying. Specifically, disease, famine, drought, and infighting caused the collapse of Celigar. What isn't common knowledge (at least, to anyone not a learned and magic history-loving scholar) is that Celigar's strange uses of magic power caused all of its problems. Among other things, its Thaumaturges began toying with implantations of mana directly into the human body. Enhancements to the human body to achieve that which was beyond mortal men was the goal, but many years of failed attempts and half-working implants created a population that was twisted, irritable, and magically unstable. The resulting civil war left patches of wild magic that to this day still cause strange effects in the Veldt.
The first Twilight Adept, a mysterious wizard named Aldvore the Distant, took an unhealthy interest in the magical power leftover from the Celigarians. Through many years of experimentation and expeditions through the ruins of the former kingdom he amassed great knowledge of the practices of the ancient sorcerers. In the year 804 in the Age of Knowledge, he founded the Order of the Twilight Adepts, so named for the group's interest and skill in the magics of a civilization on which the sun had set. He saw power in the people that had invented concepts with which skilled sorcerers even today have trouble understanding including Mana Weaponry, Chronomancy, and Resurrection.
The day came when he attempted some of the physical enhancement procedures (which by this point had started to be referred to as "The Legacy") on himself and while it did extend his life at least twice that of a normal man, towards his final years, his thoughts became absolutely enigmatic even to his assistants and followers. Before that time, however, he recorded a series of dialogues which explained concepts he believed were instilled on him by the rich Celigarian magic running through his veins. Primarily, he discussed the belief that this existence is but an illusion and the real state of being destined for he and his followers is just beyond the veil of this world, which is ready and waiting to be lifted.
Since the inception of the Order, the Adepts have reached different understandings of these teachings through their own reception of The Legacy. Many have conflicting beliefs and after years of exposure to strange magics most Adepts begin a slow descent into madness.
To this day the Adepts scour all corners of the Veldt for any secrets Celigar left behind.
New members are scouted and chosen by Precursors, members of the Order with a gift for identifying appropriate recruits. They journey across the world to find their targets, keeping to the shadows, moving mostly around dawn or dusk, and speaking only when absolutely necessary. The members they seek out are often shunned by their peers or otherwise different than those around them.
New pledges are taken through a proving ritual called the Enlightenment of the Veil, the details of which are sketchy at best. Afterwards, the new member would seem very different to those who knew him or her.
New members must be sought out because the vast majority of the time, Adepts are rendered sterile by the strange powers with which they toy.
The Order has no use for money as most of the things it needs are stolen or found in the wild. They grow (or manifest) their own food, they raid Veldt villages for supplies (and sometimes experiment subjects), and they usually conjure any unnatural materials they need.
The Order is always led by a wizard known as the Chief Enlightened. The current occupant of that position is unknown. As far as the Order is concerned, the member ceases to have a name when he or she inherits the position. No one exactly knows how the leader is chosen. Some members of the Congress Arcanum theorize that it may be part of some elaborate ritual, but no one agrees on an accepted answer because they find the Adepts so difficult to understand.
Adepts in the Order are considered Brothers or Sisters and hold equal rank. Occasionally when a party of Adepts must venture out for some cause, they are led by an Eldest Brother chosen from among the group.
Meetings and ceremonies, if viewed by an outsider, would be very unnerving or downright spooky, complete with chanting in otherworldly voices and erratic movements.
The Order has primarily one rule and that is to speak of nothing with the unenlightened. No one not in the order can be told any of its teachings, goings-on, or goals.
The other rule is that any defector, traitor, or deserter of the Order must be hunted down and Erased without delay or mercy. The Erasure of a former member is the forced removal of all mana from the person's body which causes a violent disintegration leaving no trace of the individual.