Tales from Forgotten Europa
Seekers of Light
The Not-So-General KnowledgeThe Seekers are a secret organization which spans great distances of space and time. Their name is not known to the vast majority of people, but some have long suspected of their existence and even implicated them with the cause for major power shifts in the world and great tragedies that preceded them. The actual goals of the organization are mostly assumed from second hand knowledge, more fables than reality. Still sometimes legends grow on their own inspiring fear and loathing. For their part, the organization does not try to alter this image; in fact their actions can sometimes be specifically geared towards such inspirations.
Relationship to Other OrganizationsNobility has mixed attitude towards this group. Many a monarch has actively pursued the organization, seeing it as a real threat to their rule. Similar is the affection of other major power groups like the high church of Germany, which vowed to abolish what they call a “blasphemous conspiracy against god”. Yet for all the threats and campaigns, The Seekers of Light, or simply The Light, as it is sometimes known doesn’t seem to be affected. No body of power wants to publicly acknowledge its existence. To do so would be confirm that they fear it and that it poses a real threat. This public dismissal means that if any actual persecution did happen to have ended in capture or anything tangible, it would be kept secret, thus ironically, strengthening the organization’s image.
Some say that in reality many powerful entities secretly forged pacts with the organizations or more, are its members. As such they provide active assistance and in return get support in their ascent to power. The Light has rumored to have connections to some notable high priests, merchants, and even rulers.
This is especially prominent in France. Unbeknownst to most, Seeker symbols make their way through some important government places, never taking center stage, yet still there. Origins of how these connections were made are very old and the symbols are now mostly passed as tradition within the courts, but for the few who can pick up on it, such connections have deep significance. History According to the organization’s official history, it goes back all the way to the origins of the first human kingdoms. Some say it was originally an Elvish society of a similar name which can’t be well translated. Though the official name has been Seekers of Light for millennia, a closer translation from Elven would be spark or source.
Power StructureThis is a hierarchical organization divided into six levels of power, or enlightenment as the members call it.
On top sits one member, referred to as The Ascendant. As one achieves this level any old names are stripped and he is henceforth only referred to by the title. With the title comes unilateral authority over all other members. His decrees are almost always followed as he is considered to be most enlightened among the group, but special provisions do exist, which allow his rule to be overturned or even his position itself reassigned. These rules, nor the actual process of becoming the Ascendant are not known to anyone, but the top members of the organization. The only reason this is known at all is that it has actually happened two times in the generally known history.
The level below the Ascendant is occupied by three Regents Supreme. Each one always goes by an additional title. It is mostly not set with the exception that there has always been, The Watcher. As one Watcher goes away, another always fills his role. Almost all Ascendants have been Watchers. The second member title has changed over time, from Mason to Architect to Magus to, now the newest member, Engineer. The final position title changes with every new appointee, the most recent being The Presbyter.
The two levels directly below almost always are grouped together. Together they are known as The Council, with the individual tiers being referred to as Master Illuminated and Grand Master Illuminated. The composition of the grand council is not set among how many must be in either tier, with the numbers being different throughout history. But the total number of council members must always remain 23. It is the members of the Grand council who are the most visible rulers within the organization. Many of the members are responsible for a specific geographical region, but not all. Some members have no rule over any area, but are instead entrusted with certain specific interests to the organization. They tend to rule smaller sub-organizations, which transcend borders.
The final two levels make up the vast majority of the organization. Members of the second level are called the Illuminated. In order to provide for better carrier opportunities some regions subdivide this level into more levels, but as far as the organization is concerned, everyone here is of an equal stature.
The lowest level in the organization is occupied by the Initiates. The initiates know little of the organization. In fact they are sometimes called under the guise of being members of entirely different organizations. At other times they are only made Initiates for specific strategic purposes, only to be pushed out of the organization as soon as the advantage dissipates. By far this is where most of the membership is concentrated. Even though they possess a low ranking within the organization, Initiates are often very skilled and successful outside the group. Membership is by invitation only and the organization is very selective of who it accepts.
Member BackgroundWhile being very secretive and guarded, the Seekers are actually quite open to all different kinds of members. The organization is actually composed of members from all races and cultures, male or female, rich or poor. What matters the most is the capacity of a member to further the goals of the organization. This flexibility has been vital to the organization’s success as it allowed it to employ people often ignored or underestimated, like servants or wives, to do some of the most crucial tasks.
Professionally the group is also quite varied, though the bulk of those with any real power are usually rulers, priests, merchants, bankers, and wizards. Because of the nature of the organization, no matter what the profession, all members eventually gain skill in being undetected and gathering knowledge, be that lurking in shadows, getting through locks, or bluffing past clueless bystanders.
GoalsThrough time the organization took on slightly different goals. As powerful as it might seem, the secrecy has ironically kept it from achieving ultimate power. That is because the secrecy is spread within as well. Struggles for power between the Council members as well as differences in opinion sometimes make it hard for outsiders to have any idea what the true goals are. But there are unifying themes to all that the Seekers do and as far as the organization is concerned these are what tie the members together.
Transcendence – The freeing from the fleshy bonds that constrain the spirit has been the center of many quests. The Seekers consider the material world limiting to their spirits real abilities.
Omnicognizance – Members of the Light always seek to know everything, especially if it furthers their power. They use knowledge as their main weapon and always aim to plant spies and magical scrying instruments in favorable places.
Omnipotence – Being all powerful is what most external powers fear the organization might achieve. The earthly means to do this is to control all the power centers which move people, commerce, information, politics, religion, magic, and technology. Otherworldly means have also been actively pursued.
Immortality – Many of the order have passionately pursued this goal sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. The reason given is that if immortality is achieved then every other goal is attainable. It also doesn’t escape their mind that if they were to achieve the other goals, the time it would take to do so would leave little left to actually enjoy their use.
Balance – Though these goals seem nefarious to many outsiders, the Seekers have quite often used their abilities to the good of many. One of the most important roles the organization has played was to ensure an even power balance in the world. Of course this is much in self interest, since to let anyone become too powerful would serve to directly threaten the organization itself. Still, this is probably the most visible occupation of the Seekers and has earned them much appreciation from disadvantaged groups, at least for a time. In reality this is seldom an individual goal of any lower level member, but rather something aspired by more powerful individuals.
Sub-organizationsThe Seekers of Light have a number of sub-organizations, which are secretive to lower level members. Each organization serves a specific purpose and is led directly by a council member.
Watchmen – The most feared of all groups and perhaps the most powerful. Watchmen’s goal is to ensure the secrecy of the overall organization. With this they often pay visits to members they fear might cross sides and if need be perform drastic measures like assassination to ensure their goals are met. Watchmen have historically gotten direct backing from The Watcher, a Regent Supreme.
Gatekeepers – Perhaps one of the most dangerous and difficult jobs goes to this organization. They are charged to control access to and from gates which connect worlds. Many members spend their lives searching for new or unknown gates and ensuring they are well guarded against powers who might threaten the world, even if it means destroying them. Just as they destroy gates, the Gatekeepers also work on creating them. It is said that the Council member territories are actually connected through gates leading to the Crystal Fortress, the fabled epicenter of the organization. Though these are perhaps the high profile occupations of the Gatekeepers, their everyday affairs surround much more ready matters of commerce and correspondence. The group is the most active in their dealings with merchants, messengers, ports, and the like. They keep tabs on what goes where and often act as middlemen in different transactions through their infiltration of banks.
Artificers – Few things in the world exist, imbued with supreme magic, which can alter the course of the world itself. These are artifacts, items most often lost to time or controlled by whole countries. The Artificers seek to find and take ownership of these items. With the advent of technology, the artificers have extended their scope to include powerful machina. As the stories of civilizations go, many an artifact has its purpose in war and power. They are used to solidify ones reign over others, to tip the balance of power. This militant influence over the subject matter means that Artificers often find themselves, more than any other group, dealing with martial organizations as traders in highly sought after items. Never loved, yet always desired, Artificers are the lords of war, supplying devastating implements into employing hands.
Loremasters – To know some things can break the unfortified mind. For the Loremasters this is a constant challenge as they seek to uncover knowledge and secrets not suited for the ears of the weak. Members of this group often undergo serious threats to their wellbeing by always pushing the boundaries of the unknown, which brings them within reach of the darkest corners of the world. Their pursuit of knowledge often puts them in a cooperative relationship with all other organizations. A few of this rank have also been able to master the skill of Astral Projection, allowing them to establish direct links with the Crystal Fortress. The Loremaster have many established connections within institutions of knowledge and amongst information dealers.
The Restless Hand – Perhaps the most nefarious of the sub-organizations, the Hand is composed of highly skilled spies. The organizations goals are to actively seek control of external (and sometimes internal) organizations and power centers. Their goals can put them in precarious situations well behind enemy lines with no one to back them up. They are most active within political and organized religious institutions and as such usually have the closest ties to regional chapters of the organization.
Keepers of the Book – Time is the ultimate challenge, which the Seekers of Light aim to overcome. Yet very few have the fortitude to actively pursue this course. This organization, often rumored to be an offspring from the Loremaster, is populated with very few direct members. The members are obsessed with accumulating and pouring over historical knowledge as well as performing great divinations in order to learn the future. Their knowledge is the placed in what is called the Path, which is mistakenly thought to be a book, while in fact it is an artifact. Though a few books by this title do exist, they are merely diversions. The true Path is a crystal which, with great skill, can be used to plot the course of history through direct thought. Its power sits in storing and recalling of the collective knowledge of all keepers who are to ever exist. The Keepers continuously update the crystal with new facts and try to extrapolate the future course of events. The location of the Path is known only to its keepers. This knowledge has never been betrayed. Even the Ascendant does not know the location and is forced to continuously seek the Keepers for council. It is said that the exception was the first Ascendant who was the originator of the Keepers of the Book, but thought it would be dangerous for future successors to have direct access.
The rest – The vast bulk of Seeker of Light do not know much of nor belong to any of these organizations, instead they are called upon to help regional rulers. Often times they may in fact be performing tasks for these organization, but not know they are doing so.
The OathThe secrecy of the organization is not merely held through good will, but rather it is protected through few different means. Upon becoming part of the organization each member must take an oath of secrecy. This is a magical contract, which if broken can cause irreparable injury or even death to the betrayer. Many choose not to ever test this nor do they want to as the benefits of being in the organization are many. For many, membership means faster path to success as the organization will work to clear obstacles and ease ones opposition. Still, if neither benefits of memberships nor the threat of breaking the oath are enough to dissuade an individual from divulging secrets, The Watchmen, make sure the damage is minimal. Often this means assassination of not only the individual, but also all those who could have received any information.
SymbolsSymbols play an important role in the organization. The members believe that certain words, numbers, and symbols possess power lost to the untrained. Numerous members have been known to study areas of knowledge related to these, one of the most notable is the study of the ancient tongue, which is said to break minds with but an utterance.
The All-Seeing Eye – The most notable symbol of the order is that of the eye. It symbolizes the achievement of all of the goals of the Seekers of Light. It has known to also be used as a way for members to identify special places and items. The symbol is usually backed with secret hidden messages to members.
Pentagram – The five sided star is said to sand for world of the spirit, places outside the mortal plane of existence. Loremasters have further extrapolated on the meaning pointing to ancient texts connecting the pentagram to the planet Venus, the morning star, bringer of light and knowledge. This last point has a double meaning. Many conspiracies connect the prevalence of this symbol in the Seekers of Light’s mythology with evil, putting nefarious purpose to this knowledge, as in forbidden, corrupting knowledge. To the Illuminated, this is just the opposite as knowledge is aspired and always has a purifying effect.
Numbers – Numbers hold special meanings for the order. They are believed to hold intrinsic power, which, by the learned, can be harnessed. Sometimes the meanings are very specific. Some numbers are deemed very powerful and are very prevalent throughout the order’s designs.
23 – The number 23 has a resounding presence in the organization’s mythology. It is ever present, yet never directly addressed. The Light’s organizational structure is built around its meaning, with the mandates of 23 members of The Council. Some say that there seems to be an imbalance, with 3 Regents Supreme and only one Ascendant. They point to this imbalance, theorizing of another member above the Ascendant, though this has never gone beyond speculation. Further proof for this is contained in only 6 official levels of hierarchy, 7 being the holy number (see below).
7 – The number 7 is another often repeated symbol. It is said to stand for the path of illumination and godhood. It is often referred to as the number of perfection, the numerical equivalence of a perfect being.