What do three guild masters, one noble, a seneschal, a “wine barrel merchant”, and a massively wealthy merchant have in common? Nothing, except maybe they an appreciation for wine.
Secret societies have long existed for a number of social and political reasons. The Red Flower Society dates back to the time around the burning of the Great Temples of the South when the Churians invades the Great Civilized Land from the North. The organization teaches the finest martial arts and skills of subterfuge to its members
The Ethenorden is a dusk skinned race of nomadic humans that frequent all nations on the Dhargenaas continent, save for populated parts of the province of Silmar and the Obaayn Desert within the Empire.
The Senrenites - The Knights of the Most Holy Order of St. Senren - are one of the most powerful and influential religious orders in northern Laurentia. A militant order, they have nevertheless been widely credited with bringing a code of honour to conflicts that is now widely adhered to by most nations.
Once a great monarchy flourished and the royal Kings and Queens were buried in booby-trapped barrows with treasure and with Undead servants to watch over the tombs. The religion changed over time and the monarchy was running out of money, as the kingdom’s wealth was being tied up in ancient tombs. Something had to be done.
The Royal Geographical Order is a Learned Society representing geographers and explorers. It was founded over one hundred and fifty years ago for the advancement of geographical science and knowledge (of the known and unknown world) and has been among the most active of the learned societies ever since. The largest geographical society in the world, and one of the largest learned societies as well. It now operates on a regional, national and international scale.
If one travels, you might notice it. Each one has a blue orb on their signage or somewhere in the shop. The merchants seem to specialize in foreign goods, but often buy local produce and products, to trade in other places. They seem totally unrelated to the others. It seems to be a secret organization, but nobody knows for sure.
The Seven Stars was created to give succor to those wounded in battle. It has expanded its mission to any in need from great disaster, such as war, famine, plauge, quakes, storms, and so on. Each area has a team. These teams have assembled caches of supplies, lines of communication, and organization for volunteers and members.
Mitrall was a Guardian Deity of the Dead, who would watch over the Dead and their tombs until the time of their return (physical or re-incarnation). The culture that worshiped Mitrall has been conquered and destroyed a few centuries ago. Yet the Cult of Mitrall continues.
The Order is an odd order. It is a knightly order that does not require its members to be knights, or even noble. It is a small order to be sure, but no one knows as no list of its members has ever been published. However, the leader of the The Order can sit in on the Council and instantly get audiences with many important people. No one is sure what the Order is about and many who have an inkling DO NOT want to know more.
“Move!” The whip cracks above the beasts of buren. The wagon slowly moves forward.
Officially this is an organization for people who had direct ancestors who fought in the Returner’s War. It is a quaint historical society.
Perhaps they lack the subtlety of other groups, but the Candles of God have no desire to be subtle. Perhaps they do not keep their secrets very well, but the Candles of God want their voices to be heard. Perhaps they are careless about who they kill, but there shall be no innocent bystanders when the fires of hell consume the unrighteous.
This is an unofficial order of the King’s Guard, those charged with protecting the castle, the king, and any holdings. The Red Hand are the elites of the prisioner guards.
The Order is a stanch defender of The Crown, despite that he has turned his back on traditional ways. They try to council him in “proper ways” to handle things. They are known for their motto “Tradition is my Shield”.
This is the order of the Three Kingdoms, each kingdom volunteering men to serve in the Order. Each of the members must be an expert woodsman: able to survive in the Great Dark Oak Forest that borders all three Kingdoms.
The children of some of the murdered City Guards formed the “White Knights”, their stated aim being to help the City Guards crack down on crime.
The members of this obscure order specialize in growing funghi. Growing, researching and studying many kinds, they even try to create new ones.
The Bowmen of Love are a more or less secret organization found within the larger towns. For a price, they can be hired to drop a love potion into someone’s drink or shoot them, not with a bow despite their name, but with a tiny blowpipe that fires a dart with a love potion on it.
An elite unit dedicated to The Queen.
Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.
Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.
Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.
The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.
Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.
In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.
Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.