The Last Remaining Light
The New Horizon Council
Traditionalist representatives formed a new Council of Nine, after the original Horizon Council were destroyed, along with Horizon itself. Although Los Angeles has been damaged beyond easy repair and is no longer their home base, the Council continues to be based in America. For most of its representatives, however, Correspondence rotes keep them from getting stuck in one place.
The latest wrinkle, of course, is the Technocracy presence and participation at these meetings.
Chancellor: Mark Hallward Gillan, bani Hermes. The Chancellor position was originally intended as a Pro Tempore position, to cut down on internecine bickering and scheming in favor of getting things done. A clear majority of the new Traditionalist Councilors chose this supposed ex-Hermetic and outsider who nevertheless knows a lot about Tradition politics, and got involved with political affairs while claiming to want no connection. Perhaps he’s learned some lessons from conventional outside/inside the beltway politics, or perhaps he taught them to the mundanes.
In any case, Gillan has steered the Council towards swift, efficient decisions. He continues to claim to have no interest in the job, though. And he distrusts mages aligned with the more open, Paradox-be-damned style of Morgan and Joshua — particularly after a confrontation with the American military off the northeast coast, a naval and air battle that supposedly cost the lives of thousands. Gillan is, after all, an Army brat who briefly enlisted with the military before the Order of Hermes and House Flambeau found him.
Akashic Brotherhood: Nu Ying, aka Raging Eagle. Although everyone knows this elder amongst the Brotherhood by the name he took up after his training with Jou Shan and the Vajrapani, Raging Eagle is originally from a working class family in Denver. He may be one of the few remaining Akashic masters or Sifu left on Earth, but he looks to be in his thirties, thanks to a disciplined and healthy lifestyle.
Nu Ying is also a veteran Ascension Warrior, having been entrusted with some of the War’s most dangerous missions in his time. And now, his former enemy has become the Council’s ally. He still picks apart their plans for weakness, perhaps as a form of reflexive meditation. But he seldom wastes words, or shows emotion, preferring to vent through practice and training in isolation. With the budding alliances forming between some forward-thinking Traditions and the Technocrats working with them, the Akashic Brothers may be on the outside of it — looking in, or fighting against it.
Celestial Chorus: Simon Pain. A strange choice for the Council, Pain had only been a member of the Chorus for a few years when disaster struck. And before that, he was a Watcher for the NWO…although, before that, he was a Catholic priest. His original crisis of faith after Awakening led him to the Technocracy, and his own specialty in ‘fixing’ reality deviance involving weeping statues and stigmata and the like speaks to how he handled that crisis. Later, though, he was forced back to the tools of his faith in a crossfire between Choristers and Nephandi, and ‘converted’ to the Chorus.
Since then, he’s grown into a strange authority in spite of his past, cutting across sectarian boundaries of mundane religion, getting the Tradition’s factions to talk to each other. He is perhaps still the least trusted and least influential member on the Council, however. Although he believes in reconciliation between the Traditions and the Technocracy, he also opposed the destruction of House Janissary. This leaves Pain fresh out of friends.
Cult of Ecstasy: Jamie Cadwell. What happens when your goal is to overthrow and rebuild society, when society actually does crumble around you? For this leading protestor and corporate saboteur from the Cult’s Dissonance Society, Jamie is living the dream. A philosopher-warrior and avowed socialist, she found the more conventional Joybringers and their message of society’s blissful Ascension childish and cloying, along with the Cult’s Code of Ananda; their rules speak against inflicting fear or terror, and suggest not taking things seriously, not acting with anger or wrath. As a power-fighting anarchist punk, Jamie’s bent the Cult’s rules.
Of course, this more violent mindset — and the magick that she created with it — has served her well in the time of apocalypse, and so while the others may spiral into self-destructive bliss, she leads the Cult in crisis management and looks for answers to the question presented by society’s sudden collapse. She’s also heard of the exploits of the ‘rogue council’ of mages inspired by Morgan and Joshua, and given Joshua’s history with a pair of Cultists fighting the Technos in Seattle, the Ecstatics may represent a surprising well of support for them.
Dreamspeakers: Netsilak Raymond, Master Smith of Spiritual Machines. An Inuit man from Greenland, originally a construction worker by trade, Netsilak became a shaman after he fell into a coma, following a construction accident, and was brought back by a shaman-crafter made a charm to draw his spirit back from the brink. Netsilak’s vision is to reawaken the slumbering magick of the world, and as a Spirit Smith he works through Awakened items, houses, even entire city blocks.
Netsilak gained power and influence over the Dreamspeakers by surviving the disaster of the Avatar Storm when so many of his ilk did not. He has made connections to other Dreamspeaker factions, along with some technoshamans among the Sons of Ether and Virtual Adepts. The Dreamspeakers’ singular focus on the spirit world, however, is ill suited to Tradition politics as it has always been. But from his point of view, Netsilak finds the Council still neglects the Umbra, even more so now that it is inaccessible to many will-workers.
Euthanatos: Alexander Moro, a descendant of Cygnus Moro, the Euthanatos elected to the First Cabal. Unlike his grim ancestor, Alexander is a jovial death mage, a Parsi man with golden skin and a bit of a paunch. A studious natural linguist, his talents led him to decipher the text that revealed how the Ksirafai, an ancient faction of spymasters from the Order of Reason, took over the Janissary class in Egypt, and in time became the Hermetic House Janissary. This led to a Euthanatos-led purge of the Janissaries, as perceived Technocratic insurgents.
The Albireo, a faction of diplomats among the death-mages, named for a star in the constellation Cygnus in honor of Cygnus Moro, took Alexander in. But the Albireo have long taken it upon themselves to act as the Traditions’ police, eliminating threats to the Council. The Janissary purge finally brought this secret work out into the open, and the Traditions have warmed to the prospect, seeing the Euthanatos’ effectiveness. After years of laying low and policing their own, however, the Traditions could miss an opportunity — a need — to do something greater.
Hollow Ones: Wayward Mark. A visitor from the Waydown chantry in San Francisco, Mark found his way to the Council sessions not long ago, and began to sketch and take notes, passing information along the Hollow Railroad. Less overt than the perky-goth Councilor types who’ve tried to get the old Council of Nine to accept the Hollow Tradition, Mark’s presence was vouched for by the Waydown Hollowers and found harmless enough to mostly ignore.
What isn’t common knowledge outside of the Hollowers, at this point, is Morgan’s interest in the Wookeys and their One True History. But amongst their own, the Wookeys are pleased as goths get to have met and maybe even inspired the living legends from Glastonbury Tor. There’s something about their story that touches the Hollow Ones — some of them, at least — as an embodiment of Romance with a capital R. Epic heroes, star-crossed lovers, tragedy, sacrifice, resurrection…such things are what the goth-mages treasure.
Order of Hermes: Lord Edward Gilmore, bani Tytalus. Famous among the Traditions for his evacuation of the Fors Collegis Mercuris on Mus (Mercury), and sealing the Ways to Horizon when it fell. Not to mention facing down Tremere himself, who appeared in astral form in Horizon itself during the second Massasa war. Of course, this last achievement has been diminished somewhat by Morgan and Joshua’s much more visceral confrontation with Tremere. But Lord Gilmore is humble among Hermetics, acting with restraint compared to the magickal excesses of his Tradition and his House.
That being said, Lord Gilmore has no lingering fondness for his renegade House-mate. He knows more than most about why it was better for Joshua to leave the Order, about Joshua’s own self-destructive excess, about his madness. Gilmore also interrupted Joshua’s mad quest to resurrect Morgan with a visit to Glastonbury, where they dutifully exchanged death-threats. And yet, there is the matter of the Euthanatos cleaning House on the Janissaries, a slight the Order cannot simply allow to pass unquestioned. This leaves the Order in a rough spot on the Council, currently; although Joshua’s Paradox-be-damned Hermeticism has left its stamp on the crumbling Consensus, outcast or no.
Sons of Ether: Czarina Roksana Vargo. A Scientist, grand-daughter and inheritor of Czar Vargo’s greatest achievements, though they have been written out of history by the Technocracy. Czar Vargo was known for his Conversion Engine, which is supposed to convert air into energy, along with the airships and beam weapons he used to stage an overthrow of the Earth’s mundane governments in 1914. The Czarina has all this and more, some inventions updated since the old days, and re-emerged with them into Etherite society in the wake of our infamous showdown with the Technocracy in Seattle.
Rather than nurse the old grudges, however, Roksana sees the Technocracy as beaten, vengeance for the lost Ether achieved, and Etherite Science vindicated by recent events. Now is the time for the kind of innovation necessary to save the world…and who better for the task than her Tradition and its frantic, eager world-saviors? The Czarina happily allies with her grandfather’s mortal enemies now, from a position of strength.
Verbena: Hector de Xangô. A Brazilian practitioner of Santeria, Hector’s interest in Spirit craft and the primal offerings of chickens and goats to the Orixá plant him solidly in the Twisters of Fate camp in the Verbena. His faith in the spirits that guide him also helps him get along well with the Dreamspeakers that he meets.
On the Tradition Council, he’s a conservative, more interested in preventing it from making foolish mistakes, skeptical of any higher purpose than survival. Then again, it’s getting to the point where survival is a questionable prospect. Hector has met with Morgan and Joshua, and he understands some of what they’ve been through, certainly what they’ve accomplished. Still, he also knows the Council well enough to realize the difficulty of Morgan’s dream of unity — well enough to be a little skeptical of it himself.
Virtual Adepts: Catherine Blass, aka X-Cel. Her tendency to expose and humiliate rather than kill off Technocratic agents during the Ascension War didn’t earn her any admiration from the Technocracy. She’s a veteran of the War, but not as embittered by it as some. Instead, she gained notoriety for being rather more merciful, even with her Technocratic adversaries, even as she worked to foil their projects and blow their cover.
But as the apocalypse unfolds and some Traditionalists push to unify with the much smaller, weaker Technocratic elements left on Earth, X-Cel’s protective streak even towards Technocrats in need puts her firmly in the technocrat-technomage camp.
Ragnarok Command: After the incident in Bangladesh some years back, the Conventions decided to form a new cooperative project to respond to supernatural threats. Each Convention contributes to the organization, running statistical analyses and predictions, developing useful technologies, and agents form up to handle anti-vampire tactical missions. Ragnarok Command was a loose, small organization until the bulk of Technocracy forces left Earthspace for the COP.
Since then, Ragnarok Command’s collective effort has taken over most of the remaining Earthbound operations of the Technocracy. And representatives from Ragnarok Command have since established contact with the Tradition Council, typically appearing through telepresence, on-screen or in holographic projections. Individual Technocrats and amalgams do attend some of the Council’s meetings. The war front between the Traditions and Technocracy is over for now; at least, some form of a truce has taken over. And with civilization and the Consensus crumbling, technomages from either persuasion have more reason now to work together.
[Our game is currently set in early 2005, the end of the world. The Week of Nightmares occurred in 1999, prompting the initiation of the Ragnarok protocol. Some years later, in 2003, Morgan and Joshua ended their adventures in Necropolis/Kansas City, and so began the series of events that brought us to the point of apocalypse.]