Mages and Cabals
There are 50-ish will-workers in L.A. at any given time. Were one to look for affiliations and membership-numbers, one would be an idiot because everything in L.A. including loyalties are fluid and ephemeral. However. The setup is something like this: Roughly 15 Diamond Order mages, 25 Free Council Mages and 10 Seers of the Throne at any given time. However there are 5 who stand above the rest, the masters of the Consilium. One master of each paths arcana. The Council is called Skewed because it overrepresents the Silver Ladder, by Malchus design. All orders are represented in L.A. but not all are given seats. The Guardians of the Veil exist… Sort of. They have one masqued member who appears at both Council and Assembly sessions. It may be the same person, it may be different people each time. He comes, he listens, he leaves. Any questions about Guardian activities are met with “This doesn’t concern you.” Or “You don’t have the clearance.” Or “Pray you never find out.”
Cabals of the Diamond Orders:
"The Enlightened Guild of the Minerva of the Aventine" (HOLLYWOOD, SILVER LADDER, GUARDIANS, MYSTERIUM, ADAMANTINE ARROW)
In 207 B.C., a guild of actors and poets was formed with a single purpose in the ancient city of Rome – To bring votive offerings to Minerva at her Aventine temple, and thereby secure the favour of the goddess of skill for the city. In 455, the Vandals plundered the temple along with the rest of the Capitoline triad. Is it any wonder that the Roman empire was dead within 30 years of this grand blasphemy?
The traditions of the Enlightened predate the roman empire by literally uncountable times, but they know the power of symbolism and signs. There may not be a literal Aventine, but there are hill atop which grand temples are raised. There may not be a Minerva, but the worship of beautiful works of art is alive and well.
The Guild have held rights of consilium over the L.A. area since 1948, when they displaced the Free Councils into the eastern suburbs in a Duel Arcane between two Magi that ended dramatically with the explosion of a gas station in Downtown, conveniently blamed on soviet infiltrators.
The Grand Accord was worked out, that kept full-blown war from breaking out between the Diamond Orders and the Assembly. A skewed arrangement to be sure, but still – Peace was maintained, with the Diamond Orders taking western L.A. and the Assembly the East. Each was given the right to distribute areas of land to other mages, incorporated as a deed of land. The Guild granted itself the deed to Hollywood immediately, soon after it granted deeds to the Temple of the Psychonauts and the leader of the Adamantine Order was given regency over Bel-Air in order to fund martial operations in the Consilium.
And then… Nothing. The Guild settled down and hoarded money and influence, growing bloated on it, while neglecting young will-workers. Less and less apprentices chose to ply their trade within the Diamond, seeking instead the vigorous and action-filled Free Council. After a catastrophic banisher-attack in 2013 which killed six apprentices and destroyed millions in property damages (You may recall the 2013 “suicide bombing” in L.A.), the Guild suddenly realized it had no-one clamouring to take the apprentices places as whipping-boys and minions. All the newly awakened were headed east to Riverside…
Grumbling at the indignity of these young whippersnappers forcing their hand, they offered a tantalizing prize they thought they would never have to give. A deed would be granted for the City of Santa Monica, open to any cabal of any order, who could bring together a minimum of five will-workers to sign a ten year lease enforced by Fate magic. Should they keep their word, the lease will expire and the Guild will give said cabal full dominion over Santa Monica to dispose of as they see fit.
Assuming nothing could get a group of 5 adepts together without causing a massive stir, the guild was surprised when a freshly created cabal of 5 apprentices turned up and requested the lease.
It was not a pleasant surprise.
“The Congregated Temple of Psychonautics” (OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE, MYSTERIUM, GUARDIANS)
Occidental College is a small liberal arts college offering 29 majors to less than 2000 students. It also hosts a bunch of dudes who drop acid in sensory deprivation tanks and call it sorcery.
Or that’s what the rest of the Consilium sees. The five scholars of the Psychonauts-Temple were installed in 1971 with the purpose of mastering the Arcanum of Mind and Spirit through the use of mind-altering techniques and substances. Meditation, yoga, haschisch and LSD are all equally viable tools for these travellers of the mind, who try to find and stretch the limits of what is conscious and unconscious.
“The Illustrious Prince-Bishopric of Bel Air” (BEL AIR, ADAMANTINE ORDER, SILVER LADDER)
$1500 fundraising dinners, tuxedoes, hired jazz-singers. The clinking of glass, and peals of laughter over the beautiful hills of Bel-Air. Big name stars donating to clean up “downtown”.
If only they knew what their money was buying. CUT-TO : Two Adamantine Arrow adepts, giving chase through the sewers. The banisher is attempting to flee after burning a library of books so ancient that Americas 250 year history is a flash-in-the-pan. $1500 crossbows are drawn, modern wonders of ancient design, because down here a pistol would mean a fireball of aerosolized shit. Click. Thump. Thud.
“Downtown” is safe yet again.
The Prince-Bishop of Bel-Air is the supreme commander of the Adamantine Order of Los Angeles. By his or her orders, the armies of ancient Atlantis will muster to defend Awakened and Sleeper alike. While the majority of his troops are disciplined ranks, the odd renegade is given an outlet and escape by joining the east-west crossover project “The Riders of Babylon” – An experiment that has given the current Prince-Bishop pause and appreciation for the efficiency and dedication of the libertines.
Cabals of the Free Assembly:
“The Assembled Alumni-Union of Riverside and the Trident” (TRIDENT UNIVERSITY & EAST LA, FREE ASSEMBLY)
“UCLA isn’t the only fucking campus around LA and I’m not talking about the occidental college weirdoes. I’m talking night school, online-school, community colleges. I’m talking alternative accreditation institutes and degrees in homeopathic medicine. You may laugh at us, mock us, call our work worthless and degrees pathetic. Well, guess what, assholes?
We’re the glue that keeps your pitiful little fantasy-land from falling together. We’re the night-manager at the pharmacy where you get your prescription drugs. We handle the scheduling and we decide who gets the studio-lot during magic hour, so you better kiss my ass nice and wet if you want to shoot that brilliant scene that’ll earn you an Emmy. You think you can get Xanthippe Van Horn if you can’t book her favourite masseuse? Well that’d be real hard to happen, if you didn’t have the ear of the right person in booking.
Hollywood isn’t built on blood, sweat and tears. It’s ink as mortar and bricks of red tape. And I can make the magic happen, or I can lay a hex on your entire piece-of-shit young-adult-fantasy-dystopia blockbuster masterpiece that’ll crush it before you ever get started.
Knowledge isn’t power. Signatures on forms are power.
And guess who has the only pen in the room?”
An assembly of 3 Mind and Fate mages, who work subtle spells that make or break productions and lives. They all have their own reasons for doing this: one thinks she’s serving fate. One thinks he’s avenging the little guy. One is just pissed off and wants revenge.
“The Riders of Babylon” (ADAMANTINE + FREE COUNCIL, VARIED LOCATIONS)
Mounted warriors have always held a special status in society and myth. The fusion of man and steed, the skill involved by both rider and steed and the martial prowess attained only by a lifetime. They have gone by many names: Equestrians, hetairoi, knights, samurai, hakkapelittä, gaemamusa… Bikers.
The Riders of Babylon evoke the memory of the fallen tower – Disparate creeds, nations, languages. Spanish mingled with pidgin-Tongva and Vietnamese, with some English thrown in for spice. Their vests come in fabrics from denim to leather, but they all have the 0.001% patch. Because 1% of all bikers are criminals, and 0,001% of all bikers are will-workers.
Okay. It’s a really bad joke. But these guys don’t take themselves that seriously. How could they, they ride around at night on their bikes and fight evil sorcerers, vampires and werewolves.
There’s a movie night, a widows-and-orphans fund. They participate in charity-rides in broad daylight on tricked out, pentacle-covered bikes with vanity plates “MAGI 666” prominently displayed.
There’s a lot of people out there who want to fight against the Lie, who want to help the Sleepers, who want to do something to try to fix the world of darkness they’ve been dropped into. Most are however not suited for the Adamantine Arrows rebranding of the armies of Atlantis of old. Most would end up washouts, or at best members of the Free Council’s minutemen militias.
But in L.A. they may end up with the riders instead. Equal parts adamantine bootcamp and free-mage equality, these lost souls ride for ruin and the red dawn with a laugh on their lips, a beer in hand and a pentagram necklace around their neck.
Cannon fodder for the Diamond Orders, Troublemakers to the Free Councils, but vitally – The Seers worst nightmare in the sheer chaos they’ll happily unleash on the Exarchs nicely ordered and static world.