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|Posted by: Hiraeth Sep 23 2016, 02:09 AM|
✝ Crux Fidelis
(lit. Faithful Cross), this absolutist group is also known as "the Cross". Sporting signature white uniforms and wielding powerful anti-magic weaponry known as Bellicosa, they hunt down the Sins and any evil with ruthless abandon. The Cross is the largest faction and acts as Sium's main law enforcement/military force. Most of this force consists of exorcist-like Bellicosa users called "the Hallowed", which are tasked out by Commanders. These Commanders are themed after the seven heavenly virtues - a testament to the fact that they are powerful enough to stand on par with the Sins. The virtues are given their orders by a circle of even higher-ranking officials known as the Archons, who apparently have influence on how the Cross is run.
Finally, at the top of it all is the fabled Pontifex. This person's identity is largely unknown even to those in the Cross, the mysterious Archons being the only ones who have contact with them. However, it is widely known that the Pontifex can declare someone "Anathema". This is basically an exile from society and humanity as a whole. After such a declaration, the outcast will be hunted by Crux Fidelis for the rest of their life. The forces of the organization don't have a choice in the matter, for as soon as they lay eyes on an Anathema, they are intensely driven by the desire to fight that person. Some speculate that this is due to some kind of special magic that the Pontifex uses, but there is no way to confirm it.
If anyone has a character they would want exiled in this manner, contact staff first. The character will need to do something atrocious to warrant it in the first place, and the player should keep in mind that Anathema is a death sentence. They are not likely to last long unless they permanently take to the wilds, and this declaration will never wear off.
HQ location: Caersewiella
Apocrypha is mostly composed of former Crux Fidelis members who have deserted for many reasons, the most common one being they do not agree with the Cross' methods. They do not have a mandatory uniform. There isn't a complicated hierarchy of ranks in Apocrypha, but each province has its own director that handles executive matters.
Since they have renounced Crux Fidelis and the Pontifex, the Anathema magic no longer affects them. This has its pros and cons. There's a fair chance of at least a few Anathema residing in Apocrypha, but they won't be pursued by their comrades. However, the disloyalty causes the Bellicosa to lash out at their wielders, leaving a burning pitch-black brand of some sort somewhere on their body and then disappearing. They are left powerless and marked as traitors. Usually, those who defect have already contacted Apocrypha beforehand and can make it to safety before the Cross can get to them.
In stark contrast to the Cross' divine weapons, the members of Apocrypha make pacts with demons, using their powers to fight. Those who want to fight will often make pacts with demons who will lend their power to them in return for a variety of things such as ownership of their soul upon death, a sustained amount of sillage/life force, etc.
Apocrypha's goal is similar to the Cross'. They want to take down the sins and protect their people. But they want to achieve that end without mind control. They seek freedom. Apocrypha is still a relatively small organization however, and they are seen as little more than meddlesome rebels. Or at least that's what the higher ups in Crux Fidelis will comment publicly on them when asked. That Cross members are told to apprehend Apocrypha members upon discovery shows that the Cross is feeling threatened by them.
HQ location: multiple small HQs scattered in each province
The name Weltschmerz means world pain. To go deeper, it's the state of sadness and depression felt when the world as it is doesn't reflect what you think it should be. This collective feeling founded Weltschmerz.
Weltschmerz brings together individuals that have little to no affinity for sillage. In other words, they cannot use magic. Whether it be because of a tragedy caused by magic or the fact that they simply don't like man's rising dependence on the mystical force, the members of this faction actively seek to compete with magic users by developing sinister compounds/weapons, and conducting various experiments. They are also the lead when it comes to developing firearms and explosives.
Most of their major projects have been failures, save for two. The first is a combat-enhancing drug called Entelechy (ETC). ETC comes in pill form and affects the adrenal gland, causing the user to continuously produce adrenaline. This gives the user enhanced strength and focus, immunity to pain and fatigue, and a greatly accelerated healing rate. It all comes at a cost, however, as pushing one's body past its human limits is liable to damage said body, sometimes severely. Knowing these risks, the users take it willingly when they need to fight on par with something like a mage or supernatural creature.
The second (semi)successful project is the Ephemera Program. The name itself reflects that they expected it to fail. This is probably Weltschmerz's most questionable enterprise to date and because of that, EP information is well-guarded and not known to the public. Even the subjects themselves don't know exactly what they are. Basically, the Ephemerae are homunculi, each one implanted with the soul of a dead person for animation purposes. Not only that, they all have DNA of mystical beingswhich gives them access to their respective creature's abilities. There have been cases where an Ephemera remembers their past life. When this happens, the subject in question is terminated immediately for security purposes.
Weltschmerz is currently affiliated with Crux Fidelis. The scientists in Weltschmerz are given access to spare Bellicosa for research in exchange for certain products and information. That the regulating organization would ally itself with one so dubious as Weltschmerz serves as a testament to how dire the world state really is.
HQ location: Gaothaire
☀ Black Sun Cabal
To put it simply, the Black Sun Cabal is now a cult. They follow a mysterious and charismatic figure known only as the "Black God". This self-proclaimed deity has somehow managed to instill extreme loyalty into his followers. Any one member of the BSC would die for him. In return for this, or perhaps to ensure his own protection, the Black God lends power to his followers. This faction used to be a haven for those orphaned or otherwise detrimented by supernatural causes such as demons or magic. Recently that turned out to be a front. Even when the leader showed his true colours and became the "Black God", most of his followers stayed with him because they loved him and had nothing better to go back to.
While their end goal is unknown, the cult's current objective seems to be collecting sillage from any source they can, including skilled mages. This often leads to many abhorrent rituals and sacrifices. They aren't always successful, but most of the time they are, and because of that they have a lot of magic power at their disposal. The Black God has used this power to create various entities. The first batch was the massive failure that released the Seven Deadly Sins unto the world in physical form. He could not control them and so he freed them to do whatever they saw fit. This event is not common knowledge, however. Only the parties involved know about it.
The second time, the Black God was successful, creating his Executioners: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These Horsemen are forces of nature and few that have gotten into confrontations with them have lived to tell the tale. Even though they are called executioners, they do more than just kill the Black God's enemies (though assassinations are their specialty). Much like any other cultist, they handle a variety of tasks such as recruitment, capturing worthy sacrifices, and guarding their lord.
The Black Sun Cabal is currently at large as they are too powerful and numerous to take down in one go. The Cross will interfere with their rituals if tipped off, but even they don't actively hunt the BSC as it would take time and resources that are already focused elsewhere.
HQ location: everywhere; they're nomadic
⛓ Poena Damni
(lit. pain of loss) The Sins are powerful curses in human form that feed off of and are empowered by negative emotions such as pain and sadness. These emotions also attract them. They were recently created by the Black God. He had wanted to use them as soldiers, but they overpowered and forced him to free them. Now they operate as a loosely organized group whose unspoken leader is Pride, the most powerful Sin.
Almost as soon as they were released, the Sins sowed destruction in any way they could. This caused the Cross to focus their efforts on finding and killing the Sins. However, they soon found that it was difficult to get rid of them. All the Sins are immortal and will disappear upon death, regenerating a week after they are killed. However, they will be condemned to Alptraum for the week they are dead. The Sins can die permanently, but only by Pride's hand. She can also create new Sins or turn people into them if she finds someone who has suitable traits to become one. This bit of info is only known among the Sins.
Other than the Deadly Sins, there exist other Sins called Branches. They aren't as powerful as the Deadly Sins, but they have their own unique abilities. They represent more minor sins such as Deceit and Neglect and they run wild just as the other Sins do.
Poena Damni's only directive is to destroy and indulge. Since the Cross has impeded this directive repeatedly, the Sins hate members of that faction especially and seem to target them more than anyone else.
HQ location: the "Tower of Babel" in Alptraum